Pakistan batsmen collapsed within the proverbial blink of an eye after a promising start against India to end their innings at 191 (all out) in 42.5 overs at the Narendra Modi Stadium here in Ahmedabad.
After a sedate opening stand of 41 between Abdullah Shafique (20 off 24) and Imam-ul-Haq (36 off 38) and an 82-run partnership for the third wicket between skipper Babar Azam (50 off 58) and No. 4 Muhammad Rizwan (49 off 69), the men in green were on track of a 300-plus total after being put into bat on what looked like a placid surface. There was no help for any of the bowlers as Pakistan went beyond 150 in the 30th over for the loss of just two wickets.
However, Babar Azam missing the line against Mohammad Siraj to be bowled, opened up the Pakistani middle-order to the left-arm wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav, who took two quick wickets to have Pakistan reeling at 166/5. Soon after that, Jasprit Bumrah got rid of Rizwan and Shadab Khan and Pakistan were, within the space of 35 balls, reduced to 171/7 and well out of the match.
While the Indian bowlers kept the pressure up as they were supported by a vociferous crowd that had gathered in large numbers, despite not being capacity, the Pakistan batsmen did not help themselves by displaying impatience and trying to push for runs.
Among the bowlers, Bumrah, Siraj, Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja picked two wickets each while Shardul Thakur couldn’t be used much.
India had retained Thakur — part of the winning combination from Afghanistan match — ahead of R Ashwin, who seemed a more ideal option to play Saturday’s match. However, the five main bowlers did the job.