Brilliant Kohli steers India to victory over Pakistan | Reuters

BIRMINGHAM India captain Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 81 to spur his side to a crushing 124-run victory over rivals Pakistan in a rain-shortened Champions Trophy Group B clash on Sunday.

Kohli’s master-class from 68 balls helped India post 319 for three in their 48 overs, after their innings had desperately needed a spark.

Pakistan never got going in their reply were all out for 164 chasing a revised Duckworth/Lewis total of 289 in 41 overs.

The win moves India to the top of the pool on net run-rate ahead of South Africa, who defeated Sri Lanka in their opening match on Saturday. India face the Lankans in their second fixture at The Oval on Thursday.

“This was a very complete performance from us,” Kohli said at the post match presentation. “We took the momentum we had from the practice games into this match. Skill-wise we were clinical, just in the field is something we can still improve on.”

Having been sent into bat, India made a solid start as Rohit Sharma (91 from 119 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (68 from 65 balls) put on 136 in 24.3 overs for the first wicket.

Sharma’s innings was ended after he responded to Kohli’s call for a single. Although he made his ground with a dive, his bat was in the air as wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed whipped off the bails.

Yuvraj Singh (53 from 32 balls) added 93 in 56 balls with Kohli for the third wicket as the pair gave the innings an injection of boundaries.

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The final over off left-arm spinner Imad Wasim resulted in 23 runs as Hardik Pandya (20 not out from six balls) smashed sixes off the first three deliveries to push his side to 319.

The Indian batsmen were particularly brutal on Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz, who went for 87 runs in 8.4 overs before limping off injured, the most expensive spell of five overs or more in Champions Trophy history.

The rain interruptions meant a revised target of 289 from 41 overs for Pakistan, but only Azhar Ali (50 from 65 balls) offered any real resistance.

Seamer Umesh Yadav (3-30 in 7.4 overs) was the pick of the Indian bowlers.

“We had everything under control in the Indian innings up to 40 overs, but then we lost the plot in the last eight and credit must go to the Indian batsmen,” Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said.

(Reporting By Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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