Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh lead India rout of Pakistan

Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh lead India rout of Pakistan

India captain Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh made Pakistan pay for fluffing catches with quickfire fifties as the holders launched their Champions Trophy title-defence with a rain-affected 124 run thrashing of their arch-rivals at Edgbaston yesterday.

Kohli's master-class from 68 balls helped India post 319 for three in their 48 overs in a match interrupted by rain, after their innings had desperately needed a spark.

Aware of tougher opposition ahead, such as top-ranked South Africa in the same group, India captain Virat Kohli praised his batsmen, but wasn't totally happy.

Yuvraj Singh put in a man-of-the-match display, scoring 53 off just 32 deliveries.

While Kohli punished pacer Riaz, Pandya smashed three consecutive sixes off left-arm spinner Imad Wasim in the final over.

After nearly a 40-minute hold-up, with the scoreboard reading 46 runs in 9.5 overs, India regrouped their strategy and started counter-attacking. The Indian openers took their team off to a great start and stitched together a 136-run stand before Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed for a well-made half-century.

'It's a reality check of where we are with our one-day cricket, ' said their coach Mickey Arthur, who angrily denied his team had shown a lack of effort.

Meanwhile an admiring Kohli, one of the world s leading batsmen, said of Yuvraj: "I felt like a club batter next to him".

To add injury to insult, key seamers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz limped out of an already limited attack and the latter was unfit to bat, leaving his team 164 for nine at the close.

India started conservatively after being inserted, but Rohit and Dhawan were soon into their stride either side of the day's first rain break, as Wahab proved particularly expensive. Very strong performance, we've taken the confidence from the practice games.

Amid heavy security at the West Midlands ground, a minute's silence was held before the match for the victims of the London Bridge attacks on Saturday night. Sharma was fortunate when, on 21, he edged Amir just beyond a diving Azhar Ali at slip for four.

Shikhar Dhawan was first out, for 68 off 65 in his 18th ODI 50, after confidently advancing and then carelessly hitting a full toss off Shadab Khan to Azhar Ali at deep midwicket. Sharma went 43 balls without a boundary in the face of tight Pakistan bowling before cover-driving and pulling Wahab for a four and a six off successive deliveries.

Sharma's fine innings ended after he responded to Kohli's call for a single.

Sharma s 119-ball innings included two sixes and seven fours.

Shadab and Hasan Ali took one wicket each. Hasan eventually had Yuvraj lbw on review but by then the damage had been done.

Pakistan, who only just qualified for the Champions Trophy when eighth in the International Cricket Council's ODI rankings, saw Azhar make exactly 50 in 65 balls.

Mohammad Hafeez made 33, while the experienced Shoaib Malik, who looked in good nick during his brief stay in the middle, was run out by a brilliant Ravindra Jadeja direct throw from backward point.

Fast bowler Umesh Yadav was the most successful among the Indian bowlers with figures of 3/0 in 7.4 overs.

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