New Delhi, June 16: India were off to superb start in their league match against arch-rivals Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at Old Trafford on Sunday (June 16).
India vice-captain Rohit Sharma and his new opening partner KL Rahul started innings after opposition captain Sarfaraz Ahmed invited them to bat first. The duo started their innings with caution and started taking Pakistani bowlers on remand.
Pakistan's strike pacers Mohammed Amir and Hasan Ali looked ineffective with the ball early on as they couldn't pose much threat to the Indian openers with the new ball. Having spent the crucial time into the middle, both the openers capitalised.
If the bowlers didn't have a great outing into the middle, Pakistan's poor fielding into the middle made the matters worse for them. Rohit got a couple of reprieves early in his innings as Pakistan fielders failed to effect easy run outs of the Indian opener.
Rohit was sent back from Rahul but throw by Fakhar was to the wrong end -- instead to keeper Sarfaraz he threw the ball to bowler Wahab Riaz.
Later, Shadab Khan failed to throw the ball towards the wicketkeeper's end as Rahul and Rohit attempted a quick single. Had the throw been correct, Rohit would have been run out again.
Rohit then made the Pakistan pay for their error as the notched up his third consecutive fifty in the tournament. The Mumbaikar also smashed five consecutive half-centuries in the ODIs to join the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane in an elite club.
Here's how experts and fans reacted to Pakistan's lackluster fielding:
Is Wahab Riaz serious? Never seen a more lacklustre fielding effort at backward square. What’s going on?— Peter Lalor (@plalor) June 16, 2019
Oh, the running! As iffy as the batting is pretty.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 16, 2019
Earlier in the day, Vijay Shankar was the man to replace the injured Shikhar Dhawan for India. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed called correctly on an overcast morning in Manchester, where Shankar represented India's sole change from the victory over Australia a week ago, with Thursday's encounter against New Zealand washed out.
Dhawan injured his hand in the win over defending champions Australia and is set to miss a couple of weeks so KL Rahul was moved up to open, while Shankar was down to come in at number four.
Pakistan, meanwhile, have made two changes from their last outing - also a loss to Australia - with spin duo Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim returning at the expense of Asif Ali and Shaheen Afridi.