Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan used an evenly-paced surface in Birmingham to amass a 136-run opening stand that helped India thrash arch-rivals Pakistan by a massive 124-run margin in their Champions Trophy opener on Sunday.
Pakistan’s captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, won the toss and put India in to bat first on a surface that he said wouldn’t change much. He was wrong, as the batting units of both teams faced conflicting fortunes. India’s top five scored briskly to set a massive 320-run target, while Pakistan’s batting unit struggled to match up. Sharma and Dhawan, reuniting at the top after 17 months, played cautiously early on and added 46 in the first ten overs.
The duo looked to regularly rotate the strike and cashed in on anything loose. Dhawan broke the shackles in the 20th over and clubbed Wahab Riaz for three fours to notch up his 50 off 47 balls. He then launched Shadab Khan for a six in the next over. Dhawan finally fell in the 25th over for a 65-ball 68. Sharma stood at 64 at that stage. The Sharma-Dhawan combine scored at a brisk 5.55 runs in the 24.3 overs that they batted together. Dhawan, with six fours and one six, contributed 64 to the partnership. Sharma eventually fell nine runs short of a memorable ton. Pakistan limped to just 164 in reply to a commanding India total.