Champions Trophy 2017: India’s match against Pakistan felt like a practice game, says Harbhajan Singh to India Today

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first_imgYet another India vs Pakistan contest turned out to be a one-sided affair as Virat Kohli’s boys crushed Sarfraz Ahmed’s team by 124 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in their opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in Edgbaston.CLICK TO WATCH SPORTS TODAYIndia’s superiority over Pakistan was there for all to see as the Men in Blue completely outplayed the Men in Green in all three departments on Sunday to begin their title defence on a high.Riding on half-centuries from Rohit Sharma (91), Shikhar Dhawan (68), Virat Kohli (81*) and Yuvraj Singh (53), India posted a huge total of 319/3 from their quota of 48 overs in a rain curtailed match.The bowlers then stepped up and bundled out Pakistan for a paltry 164 from 33.4 overs with Umesh Yadav (3/30) being the pick of the bowlers. Ravindra Jadeja (2/43) and Hardik Pandya (2/43) supported him ably.Such was the difference in class between the two sides that off-spinner Harbhajan Singh termed the match as a practice game for India.”It felt like a practice game to be honest. There wasn’t any competition, Pakistan is not the same side anymore. It will take them, I don’t know what to, get back to what they were about 15 years back. It’s a sad feeling to see where they are going with their cricket. Obviously I’m really happy the way things have gone for India and I’m looking forward to the game against South Africa,” Harbhajan told India Today’s Boria Majumdar in an exclusive chat.Former captain Sourav Ganguly, also a part of the chat, echoed Harbhajan’s sentiments on the one-sided match.advertisement”It was one-sided and that’s been the case for quite a while now. I can’t remember last 7-8 years there was anything which was competitive. The last competitive game was probably the 2007 World T20 in South Africa which was 10 years ago. You don’t enjoy because you know when you wake up in the morning there’s only one team which is going to win, which is India,” Ganguly said.Ganguly also pointed out the instances where Pakistan lost the plot against India.”Left-arm spinner bowling the second over for Pakistan in English conditions was ridiculous. India didn’t field well and probably gave away more runs than Pakistan, but the pressure of the scoreboard from India was a lot more than that of Pakistan. They dropped Yuvraj at 8, Virat Kohli at 40 and those last four overs they gave 72 runs. When left-arm spinner Imad Wasim was bowling the last over it reminded me of Yuvraj bowling to Dmitri Mascarenhas at The Oval (when he smashed five sixes in a row).”It was a ridiculous way of going around an important game. You can say that for Sarfraz it’s his first big tournament as captain but then you have played for a while you know exactly what is happening,” Ganguly said.On Kohli’s knock Ganguly said: “You could see when he started he couldn’t get the timing right he was nervous and a bit tentative but that’s going to happen with all that was written about him in the last one week (on his rift with coach Anil Kumble). It’s pressure and it’s going to keep mounting on him. From that point of view it’s a good thing to put it out of the system at the start of a big tournament because India vs Pakistan is a big game however good India is. It will help India and as I said, this tournament is between five teams – India, South Africa, Australia, England and New Zealand.”Praising the performance of the Indian bowlers, former captain Mohammad Azharuddin said: “When you have a big total to defend it helps. I feel it was a outstanding performance and India really deserved this win and as Dada was saying before it was a very good practice game.”Ganguly also went on to say that South Africa will be the toughest opponents but India will definitely qualify for the semi-finals.”They will (qualify for semis). It’s like stepping up a ladder – Pakistan, Sri Lanka next and then South Africa who are the toughest which will prepare India for the semi-finals and then the finals,” Ganguly added.last_img

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