India’s Asia Cup 2023 campaign began with a rain-affected match, drawing attention to the performance of their top-order batsmen against Pakistan’s formidable bowling attack. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and the returning Shreyas Iyer all failed to make a significant impact, leaving India struggling at 66 for 4 in 15 overs. However, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya came to the rescue, forging a remarkable 138-run partnership that allowed India to post 266 runs before rain interrupted play.
In the Super Fours, India faced Pakistan once again, and this time they dominated the match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill laid a solid foundation with a century partnership, followed by a record-breaking 233-run stand between Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.
In the second innings, Kuldeep Yadav’s exceptional five-wicket haul stole the spotlight as India bowled out Babar Azam & Co. for just 128 runs, securing their largest-ever victory against Pakistan in ODIs.
Former India captain and cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar expressed his delight over India’s remarkable win, likening it to a washerman beating clothes in a ‘dhobi ghat.’
“Forget about the biggest victory, puri tarah se dhula diya (we just hammered them), just as you wash clothes in a dhobi ghat. If you are a good team, you don’t let the result of the previous match affect you. If they think too much about it, they won’t be able to concentrate on the next match. I don’t expect Pakistan to make such a mistake,” he commented.
Sunil Gavaskar was particularly impressed with KL Rahul’s performance. Rahul, not only scored a century but also took on the wicketkeeping duties. His outstanding knock of 111 not out off 109 balls, featuring 11 boundaries and 2 sixes, indicated that he is fully fit and prepared for the upcoming World Cup.
“KL Rahul not only scored a century but also kept wickets. He made a big statement amid all the talk about his fitness. He proved that he is completely fit. Jasprit Bumrah, too, looked in great rhythm. His run-up looked good, and he swung the ball both ways. Even a world-class batter like Babar Azam was unable to play him,” Sunil Gavaskar said.