India’s openers Rohit Sharma (56) and Shubman Gill (58) added 121 for the first wicket in 16.4 overs on Sunday. Both were dismissed in quick succession. On Monday, Kohli and Rahul resumed their innings on 8 and 17 respectively. The duo went on to add an unbroken 233 runs for the third wicket - a new record for the highest partnership for India against Pakistan, surpassing the 231-run partnership between Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sachin Tendulkar in Sharjah back in 1996.
Kohli returned unbeaten on 122 off only 94 balls, hitting nine fours and three sixes. During his innings, he also broke the record for the fastest batter to reach 13000 runs in ODI cricket. Kohli achieved the feat in 267 innings, goring past Sachin Tendulkar’s record, who took 321 innings to score 13000 runs.
Rahul also enjoyed a memorable comeback to the Indian team. He returned undefeated on 111 off 106 balls, striking 12 fours and two sixes.
Set to chase 357, Pakistan folded up for under 130 as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Jasprit Bumrah had opener Imam-ul-Haq (9) caught at slip, while Hardik Pandya knocked over Pakistan skipper Babar Azam (10). Shardul Thakur dismissed Mohammad Rizwan for 2 with another jaffa.
Kuldeep then took charge, claiming five wickets to finish with figures of 5/25 from eight overs. He bowled Fakhar Zaman for 27 before getting the wickets of Agha Salman (23), Shadab Khan (6), Iftikhar Ahmed (23) and Faheem Ashraf (4). The game ended as Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah could not bat due to niggles.
Speaking after the win, India captain Rohit said, “We just wanted to get out on the park, to get some game time. Lot of guys haven't had that. That could only happen thanks to a great effort from the groundsmen. I know how tough it is to cover and remove covers from the whole ground. On behalf of the entire team, we would like to thank them.
On the team’s batting performance, he added, “Fantastic performance, right from yesterday. When we started, we knew the wicket was good and we had to adjust with the rain, the two experienced (Kohli an Rahul) guys we knew they'd take time to get their eye in and then we can get going.”
India will face Sri Lanka at the same venue on Tuesday, September 12.
--By A Cricket Correspondent