India gained a modicum of revenge for their ICC Champions Trophy loss to Pakistan last year by easing to an eight-wicket success in the Asia Cup. The two rivals were meeting for the first time since Pakistan claimed ODI silverware at the Oval with a 180-run success last June, and this time it was India who were the big winners.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-15) and Kedar Jadhav (3-23) did most of the damage with the ball as Pakistan were dismissed for just 162.
In the reply, half of the required runs were knocked off by opening pair Rohit Sharma (52) and Shikhar Dhawan (46), and Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik, both of whom finished unbeaten on 31, saw India home with 126 balls to spare.
The only downside from an Indian perspective was the sight of all-rounder Hardik Pandya requiring a stretcher to be taken off the field when he was bowling.
India later confirmed Pandya had an “acute lower back injury” and was able to stand again.
Pakistan’s decision to bat backfired when Bhuvneshwar struck in his second and third over to remove Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, who had scored a ton at the Oval, to leave them 2-3.
Babar Azam (47) and Shoaib Malik (43) steadied the ship, but Pakistan lost their final eight wickets for just 77 runs to leave India a victory target of 163.
Rohit and Dhawan then put on 86 before Pakistan’s bowlers made their first breakthrough and even after both openers were removed, India still coasted home with Rayudu and Karthik at the crease.
India had suffered a scare on Tuesday when they claimed a narrow 26-run win over Hong Kong, who had been 174 without loss, and captain Rohit was pleased with a more accomplished display from his bowlers.
“Right from the start we were quite disciplined,” he said at the presentation.
“We wanted to learn from yesterday’s mistakes. It was a great game for the bowling unit, especially since we knew it won’t be difficult in these conditions. We stuck to the plan and did what we had planned to do on this surface.”