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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: India’s positives from their dominant win over arch-rivals Pakistan

India won against arch-rival Pakistan in the last Cricket World Cup match. The Indian team had another injury with Bhuvneshwar Kumar but this lead to them finding a suitable replacement in the form of KL Rahul and Vijay Shankar.

Last updated: 17.06.2019
KL Rahul as an Opener for team India | Sports Social Blog 

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In their much-anticipated World Cup clash against the arch-rivals Pakistan, India yet again comprehensively cruised towards a commanding victory by 89 runs on the DLS method. In the process, the 2011 World champions continued their unbeaten streak, extending it now to 7-0 against their neighbouring rivals at the game’s grandest stage, the ICC Cricket World Cup.

From the moment Pakistan won the toss and Sarfaraz Ahmed put the men in blue into bat, it was just the one team bossing the game throughout the course of the match as Pakistan simply had no answers to India’s dominance at Manchester in their World Cup clash.

While India’s dominating win over their arch-rivals also saw their premium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar limping off the field and is most likely set to miss the next couple of games due to a hamstring injury, apart from just the victory, Virat Kohli’s men can take a lot of positives from their staggering performance against their arch-rivals Pakistan which augur extremely well for team India heading into their 2nd half of their round-robin matches.


#1: KL Rahul as an Opener

Following his match-winning innings against Australia, India’s first choice opener Shikhar Dhawan, who sustained an injury on his finger during his brilliant knock against the defending champions was forced to miss out on three to four games at the World Cup.

In such a scenario, talented KL Rahul whose selection in the World Cup squad itself was a debatable one was the obvious choice to replace the southpaw at the top of the order.

KL Rahul might have been in good form at this year’s IPL, but he was going through a run-drought at the International level for quite some time before heading into the ongoing World Cup in UK and just was able to marginally break into India’s squad at the marquee event.

Against Pakistan in his new role as an opener, KL Rahul might have been slow to start off the blocks, but he was an ideal foil for his rampant opening partner Rohit Sharma who played a sensational knock of 140 off just 113 deliveries to lead India to a thumping victory.

On paper, Pakistan had an experienced pace bowling trio in Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali and it was important for India’s openers to negate their pace and aggression in order to lay a foundation for the rest of the batsman to follow.

It is true that KL Rahul’s scoring rate was far less in the context of India’s overall run-rate, however his knock of 57 off 77 balls in his opening partnership of 136 in just under 24 overs alongside Rohit Sharma was worth its weight in gold in such a high-intensity, high-pressure contest against the arch-rivals Pakistan.

Not only KL Rahul making some useful contributions at the top of the order in Dhawan’s absence, but also his coming back to form with spending some crucial time in the middle augurs extremely well for India’s fortunes as they look forward to resuming their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on June 22nd.

#2: Vijay Shankar as a bowler

In the absence of B Kumar, who left the field as early as in the 5th over of the Pakistan innings following his hamstring injury and with one bowler short, India’s bowling could have found themselves in a spot of bother against the 1992 World Cup champions.

However, as they say, sport always throws at us fascinating success stories of emerging players who surprise us with their spirited performances. And Vijay Shankar, who just made the side because Shikhar Dhawan was injured, took his first ever wicket at the World Cup of his very first delivery at cricket’s marquee event when he trapped Pakistan’s opener Imam-ul-Haq on the pads to provide India with their initial breakthrough.

For the men in blue, their team management and their fans, Vijay Shankar’s bowling figures of 2-22 in 5.2 overs is perhaps the biggest positive of their dominant win over Pakistan.

V Shankar is a decent batsman and can swing his long handle too and if he can replicate his bowling performance against Pakistan in India’s upcoming matches, as an all-rounder, he would turn out to a big plus for India’s chances at the World Cup.

Moreover, once Shikhar Dhawan makes a comeback into his regular opening spot after his injury concerns end, Indian team management can seriously, realistically think of including Vijay Shankar over Kedar Jadhav in their playing eleven if the former continues to stack up good performances in whatever opportunities he finds at his disposal.

All in all, KL Rahul’s contribution at the top and Vijay Shankar chipping in with the ball are the biggest positives that the team India have gained from their handsome win over Pakistan and would look forward to translating the momentum that they have gained in the initial part of the World Cup into their upcoming matches as well as they prepare to dive deep into the tournament in UK.

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