It was billed as the biggest game of the Cricket World Cup so far but a shocking collapse from Pakistan saw the showdown against fierce rivals India fizzle into anticlimax. More than 100,000 mostly Indian fans packed into the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad as the tournament hosts maintained their perfect record with a crushing seven-wicket win.
India coasted to victory with a whopping 117 balls to spare, to make it three wins from three at the World Cup. Pakistan has never beaten India in a men's ODI World Cup match but the visitors had put themselves into a strong position after reaching 2-155.
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However, the wicket of captain Babar Azam - bowled by Mohammed Siraj for 50 - sparked one of the most shocking collapses for the Pakistan side. The visitors undid all the good work from their solid start by losing their final eight wickets for just 36 runs in a disastrous 13-over period that left them all out for 191.
That paltry total never seemed like it would be enough against the tournament hosts, despite India losing two early wickets. Shubman Gill went for 16 after smacking four boundaries - eventually out to a sharp catch from Shadab Khan off the bowling of Shaheen Afridi.
Pakistan may have dared to dream of a stunning upset after Virat Kohli also went for 16 but Rohit Sharma spearheaded the Indian chase with a blistering 86 to help guide his side to victory after just 30.3 overs. A second successive hundred looked on for India's captain, who smashed six sixes and six fours off 63 balls.
— BREAKING NEWS 🤯 (@sai4587Rohit) October 14, 2023
However, Rohit was deceived by a slow off-cutter from Afridi and got caught by Iftikhar Ahmed at midwicket. That left it to Shreyas Iyer - who shared in a 77-run third-wicket stand with Rohit - to seal the win with a four that took him to 53 not out.
Pakistan collapse leaves cricket world in shock
Pakistan captain Babar admitted that his side were targeting closer to 290 runs after getting off to such a strong start. After the match though, he was left ruing the extraordinary collapse from Pakistan described as "awful" and "dreadful" around the cricket world.
"We were playing normally but then we had a collapse in the middle order. We did not finish well," Babar said of their batting. "The way we started, we were targeting 280 or 290 but the collapse cost us."
What an awful collapse for Pakistan's middle order#PAKvIND
— Ahmer Jalil 🇵🇰 (@AhmerJalil) October 14, 2023
— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) October 14, 2023
I haven’t seen a Pakistan batting collapse like that in ages. They need more intent with batting especially when in a strong position which we were in.
0 sixes in an innings is awful, there’s a lot to learn
— ☝🏾 (@ItzSpookySzn) October 14, 2023
Shocking collapse from Pakistan.
— yasir khan (@yasPMG) October 14, 2023
— ᴀɴɢᴇʟ sʜɪɴɢᴇʟ🥀ᵐᵒᵐᵒ (@AngelLo73719579) October 14, 2023
Pakistan love a collapse but this is awful! Yet again we have a total one sided game! A very poor World Cup!
— Philip Binns (@Binnsphilip) October 14, 2023
— Eddie (@E_Sure91) October 14, 2023
Pakistan fail to take advantage of solid start
The match began brightly for Pakistan, with Imam-ul-Haq (36) hitting Mohammed Siraj for three fours in an over to silence the partisan home crowd, who finally found their voice in the eighth over when Siraj trapped Abdullah Shafique lbw for 20.
Imam then proved unable to convert his solid start, falling to Hardik Pandya before Babar and Rizwan combined in an 82-run stand to calm the nerves. At 2-155 in the 30th over, Pakistan appeared set for a 300-plus total with their two batting mainstays on song, before the Babar wicket sparked the unthinkable collapse.
Siraj (2-50) clean-bowled Babar to trigger the collapse, and Jasprit Bumrah, who finished with an excellent 2-19 off his seven overs, clean bowled Rizwan with a slow off-cutter to leave Pakistan reeling. Between those two dismissals, left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav (2-35 off 10) sent down a key two-wicket over, taking out Saud Shakeel and Iftikhar Ahmed, to wreck Pakistan's middle order.
India's third straight win set them join 2019 runners-up New Zealand as the only two teams to win their first three matches at the tournament so far. "There is no doubt about it that the bowlers set up the game for us again today," Rohit said after his latest sparkling knock with the bat. "It was a great effort. I don't think it was a 190 pitch."
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