India maintained their perfect start in the 2018 Asia Cup after they beat Pakistan by eight wickets in their second group game on Wednesday. Having survived a scare a night before against Hong Kong, India shed off rustiness and complacency to spring up one of its best overall performances in recent times.
So much so was India's total domination with the ball and the bat that match ended two hours before the stipulated time with over 20 overs still remaining. India's recent triumph over Pakistan means they have now extended their advantage to seven wins in the 13 Asia Cup games played between the arch-rivals. As a fired-up Indian cricket team crushed Pakistan on what is inevitably their "home soil", we take a look at the five talking points of the match.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar triggers the downfall
Bhuvneshwar Kumar opened the floodgates of wickets by dismissing Pakistani openers Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman in the first five overs. The right-arm pacer bowled good line and length and was rewarded with the prized scalp of Babar Azam, who was caught behind in the second over, while Fakhar Zaman was dismissed for a duck. Bhuvi bowled a fabulous spell of seven overs taking three wickets and giving away just 15 runs. He was rightly rewarded the 'Man of the Match' for his clinical performance.
After the early dismissals, star batsmen Babar and Malik settled the proceedings for their team, playing some sensible cricket. Despite not managing to get runs at a quick pace, and getting beaten by the odd ball, the two batsmen negated the threat of the Indian pacers, and took their team forward. Slowly but steadily, the duo were getting in their groove, and luck also favored them with Dhoni dropping Malik at a crucial point of the game. The duo managed to stitch a vital 82 runs partnership for Pakistan, which helped them post a modest total of 162 runs for India to chase.
Kedhar Jadhav - The utility man
After India suffered a setback through Hardik Pandya's injury, Kedhar Jadhav was given the opportunity with the ball. The famed Indian spin attack saw an unpopular name rise to the occasion with Kedhar Jadhav getting three wickets to his name. Jadhav bowled a superb spell of nine overs and never gave the Pakistani batsmen an inch. He did well to give away just 23 runs off the overs bowled.
Strong start by Indian openers
The Indian batsmen required a formality to complete as 163 runs target was far from being competitive and pose any threat to the Indian openers. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan continued from where they had left in the previous match by partnering for a solid 86 runs off the first wicket. After they were dismissed in quick succession, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik, fighting for a place in the XI, took the team home with a calm and composed batting display.
Rohit Sharma masterclass
Stand-in Indian cricket team skipper, Rohit Sharma made up for his poor showing against minnows Hong Kong by hammering a solid half-century against Pakistan. The Hitman's 53 runs innings had an imprint of both majestic and sublime shots. During his whirlwind knock, he smashed six boundaries and three massive sixes. In the process, his 36-ball century also saw him also surpass his previous record of 42 balls.