Asia Cup 2023: India achieve their biggest-ever ODI victory against Pakistan as Kohli, Rahul and Kuldeep shine


Virat Kohli, KL Rahul shone with the bat while Kuldeep
Image Source : AP Virat Kohli, KL Rahul shone with the bat while Kuldeep Yadav starred with his 2nd five-wicket haul in ODIs

Finally after several rain delays and¬†frustrating two days of start-stop cricket, Team India scripted their biggest-ever win against Pakistan in ODI history surpassing their 140-run win in 2008, to open their account in the Asia Cup 2023 Super Fours on Monday, September 11 in Colombo. It was a combined team effort as the batters propelled the side to their joint-best score in ODIs against Pakistan while Kuldeep Yadav’s five-wicket haul was the icing on the cake as Pakistan were skittled out for just 128 with two of their players not batting.

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul started watchfully from India’s overnight score of 147 following quickfire fifties from skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill on Day 1. Kohli kept ticking the scorecard with singles and doubles and got boundaries at regular intervals. Rahul was a little more circumspect before opening up at the 30-over mark.¬†

Rahul was more comfortable against spinners and it showed immediately when Shadab Khan came into the attack. Since Haris Rauf was ruled out of the contest, Pakistan had to compensate the remaining five overs by getting Iftikhar Ahmed into the attack and Rahul was severe against him, sweeping him every now and then.

Both of them reached fifties and went into overdrive mode. After the 35th over mark, the duo got loose and whether it was Shaheen Afridi or Shadab, they didn’t leave any of them. Kohli achieved his century in just 84 balls while Rahul got his 6th ODI ton before him, in as many deliveries.

Kohli’s last 59 runs came in just 30 balls as he single-handedly helped India push the score beyond 350 staying unbeaten on 122 off just 94 deliveries. Kohli became the fastest batter in the world to reach 13,000 ODI runs while the partnership between him and Rahul was the highest in ODI Asia Cup history, the highest for India against Pakistan.

Chasing 357 was always going to be a tall order for Pakistan and some excellent swing bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj at the top didn’t help Babar Azam and Co’s cause one bit. Both Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq failed to read the deliveries moving away from them. Imam’s patience finally came to an end with Bumrah getting him to edge to the second slip.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam played a couple of good shots before Hardik Pandya got him out with a jaffa. The rain interrupted the proceedings again but stopped to allow it for one and the final time as Kuldeep Yadav ripped through the line-up.

Shardul Thakur removed Mohammad Rizwan immediately after the rain break. After which Kuldeep ran riot. Salman Agha and Iftikhar Ahmed did push the inevitable back by a few minutes but Kuldeep was just having a marvelous day. Kuldeep ended up with five wickets, his second five-wicket haul as Pakistan fell short by 228 runs.

India will be in action again not long from now and the Men in Blue will hope to continue their winning run and seal their spot in the final of Asia Cup.

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