CL’17 News: India captain Virat Kohli and left-handed batsman Yuvraj Singh made blistering half-centuries to help India begin their Champions Trophy title defense on a dominant note by thumping Pakistan by 124 runs (Duckworth/Lewis method) at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Sunday.

After India made 319 for 3 in 48 overs, the third rain stoppage of the match left Pakistan with a revised target of 289 in 41 overs when play resumed in bright sunshine.

But Pakistan, rarely up with the stiff run-rate, finished on 164 for nine, with injured last man Wahab Riaz unable to bat as India won with 44 balls to spare.

Kohli, who on Saturday had dismissed reports of a rift with India coach Anil Kumble, was equally contemptuous of Pakistan’s attack during a blistering inning of 81 not out off just 68 balls that included six fours and three sixes.

Left-hander Yuvi, named ‘Man of the Match’ for his game-changing innings, smashed a rapid 53 while helping Kohli add 93 for the third wicket in just 59 balls.

That was not the end of the run spree, with Hardik Pandya hitting sixes off the first three balls of left-arm spinner Imad Wasim’s last over of the innings.

India smashed 72 off their final four overs as Pakistan’s attack wilted in the first match of CL’17.

Rohit Sharma (91) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) laid the platform with an opening stand of 136.

Mohammad Amir was the pick of Pakistan’s attack with none for 32 in 8.1 overs.

Woeful Wahab

But fellow left-arm fast bowler Wahab was hugely expensive, his wicketless 8.4 overs costing 87 runs.

Wahab’s day was summed up when he was unable to complete his ninth over after falling awkwardly in his delivery stride.

Before the match, players, officials and a crowd of 24,156 — a record for a one-day international at Edgbaston — observed a minute’s silence for the victims of Saturday’s London terror attack that killed seven people.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss in what was the opening Group B match for both the Asian giants in a tournament featuring the world’s top eight ODI teams.

Rohit was fortunate when, on 21, he edged Amir just beyond a diving Azhar Ali at slip for four.

Pakistan was donated a wicket, however, when Dhawan hoisted a full toss from teenage leg-spinner Shadab Khan straight to Azhar at deep midwicket.

Rohit went 43 balls without a boundary in the face of tight Pakistan bowling before cover-driving and pulling Wahab for a four and a six off successive deliveries.

But eyeing what would have been his 11th ODI hundred, Rohit was run out when he just failed to beat Babar Azam’s throw to wicket-keeper Sarfraz after Kohli’s call for a tight single.

It was the end of an 119-ball innings featuring two sixes and seven fours.

Yuvraj should have been out for eight but Hasan Ali, sliding round at long-on, dropped the two-handed catch off Shadab.

Hasan eventually had Yuvraj lbw on a review but by then the damage had been done.

Kohli had made 43 when he was missed by substitute Fakhar Zaman, who could not hold a top-edged hook off Wahab.

A blizzard of boundaries followed, with Kohli flat-batting Hasan down the ground for six to complete his fifty.

Pakistan, who only just qualified for the Champions Trophy when eighth in the International Cricket Council’s ODI rankings, saw Azhar Ali make exactly 50 in 65 balls with six fours.

But no member of India’s attack leaked runs in the way Wahab had done.

Azhar was caught at deep square-leg by Hardik Pandya, trying to hit left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja for six.

New batsman Shoaib Malik did loft Jadeja for a straight six.

But Jadeja had his revenge by running Shoaib out with a direct hit from backward point to leave Pakistan all but out of the game at 114 for four in the 24th over.

Umesh Yadav (three for 30) ended the match when Hasan fell for a duck.

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