Big players come out with bigger performances on the biggest stage. And it doesn’t get bigger than a World Cup India-Pakistan clash.
India were without in-form opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan and went into the Manchester match with a new opening combination of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. And in overcast conditions, the two openers cashed in by adding 136 runs inside 24 overs.
Rohit led the way with a belligerent 140 off just 113 balls with 14 fours and three sixes. The Mumbai opener got out with more than 11 overs to go, missing out on a golden opportunity to get his fourth ODI double century.
But all that could have been avoided by Pakistan inside the first hour if their fielders had been alert to two clear chances offered by India.
In the 10th over of India’s innings, KL Rahul tucked Wahab Riaz to mid wicket and Rohit quickly turned for a second. The fielder Fakhar Zaman threw to the bowler’s end instead of the striker’s end, when Rohit was halfway down the pitch. A decent throw to the keeper would have found Rohit yards short.
The very next over, Rahul went for another quick single off Imad Wasim to point. Rohit was once again well short of the crease but Shadab Khan’s throw from point was well off the mark.
Those two chances – with Rohit yet to cross 40 – cost Pakistan dearly.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
Pakistan’s ground fielding cost them the game against Australia, as they missed three catches and had multiple misfields and overthrows. Their poor ground fielding gave Rohit two lives and he didn’t need a third invitation to make the most of it.
Getting chances in modern ODI cricket is hard enough. Wasting multiple opportunities in successive games is just asking for trouble.
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