Dubai: India maintained their unbeaten run in the Asia Cup as they rode on scintillating centuries by skipper Rohit Sharma (111 n o, 119b, 7×4, 4×6) and Shikhar Dhawan also known as Gabbar (114, 100b, 16×4, 2×6)to thrash Pakistan by nine wickets in a Super Four match here Sunday. This is the biggest margin of victory for India over their arch rivals in terms of wickets
In the process Rohit or the ‘Hitman’ as he is called completed 7,000 runs in ODIs, The duo dominated the Pakistan bowling to the hilt as India made a mockery of chasing down the target of 238. India in the process also more or less guaranteed themselves of a place in the final of the Asia Cup.
Earlier Pakistan produced an improved batting performance, led by Shoaib Malik (78, 90b, 4×4, 2×6), scoring 237 for seven in a ‘Super Four’ encounter of the Asia Cup here Sunday. After Pakistan had been reduced to 58 for three Malik and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (44, 66b) put on 107 runs for the fourth wicket to stabilise the innings.
The Pakistan innings could be segregated into three distinct parts. A slow start where India made inroads followed by solid middle-overs batting before failing to utilise the launch pad fully with Jasprit Bumrah (2/29 in 10 overs) being brilliant at the death.
India once again started well with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s penchant for getting DRS reviews right after Yuzvendra Chahal (2/46 in 9 overs) got his first wicket by trapping Imam ul Haq (10) in front of the stumps.
Fakhar Zaman (31) was set but lost his footing trying to sweep Kuldeep Yadav (2/41 in 10 overs) to get leg before. The replays showed that the ball hit his gloves first but Pakistan didn’t take a review.
It was the Malik-Sarfraz combination that provided the launch pad with their sensible approach during the middle overs. The seasoned duo kept on rotating the strike, hitting the boundaries and sixes whenever given an opportunity.
Kedar Jadhav (0/20 from three overs), who had been Pakistan’s nemesis in the group game was forced off the attack by Malik who took two boundaries off him in his first over and then took singles at will.
Sarfraz, who played second fiddle to perfection was finally dismissed when he tried to hit Kuldeep over cover only to be snapped by Rohit Sharma.
Malik was joined by Asif Ali (30, 21b, 1×4, 2×6) who teed off by smashing Bhuvneshwar Kumar for two sixes and a boundary in the 42nd over which fetched Pakistan 22 runs.
However, there was another twist left as Bumrah, coming back for his final spell got an inside edge off Malik’s bat to get him caught behind. Chahal then bowled Asif with a googly to halt the Pak momentum.