India came into the 2014 World Twenty20 with doubts surrounding the team, following two heart-breaking losses at the 2014 Asia Cup last month. The team needed more than just a win against rivals Pakistan, and a dominant seven-wicket victory on Friday was exactly what the doctor ordered.
The final score was impressive, with the goal of 131 runs achieved with just five batsmen. But even more important was the way the team eventually came out on top. Solid execution, some impressive spin bowling and patient, level-headed batting.
India never once allowed their opponents to turn the match into a heated affair and remained calm from start to finish, and in doing so looked the part of the perfect offensive machine we all know the Men in Blue can be.
When the match was over, Pakistani public figures were very quick to congratulate the Indian team and praise the Pakistani effort, as it was very clear this Indian team was unstoppable today:
Congratulations to India. Commiserations to Pakistan Lets improve some parts of our game. World beaters need no luck. It comes from inside— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) March 21, 2014
India won the match. Pakistan fought well & made it a good game.. In games you win some, you lose some. Keep spirits high.— Abrar Ul Haq (@AbrarUlHaqPK) March 21, 2014
Amit Mishra took two wickets in four overs while Ravindra Jadeja added another wicket and kept his economy rate under five (finishing with a 4.5) as India's group of spin bowlers thoroughly dominated any and all opposition, opening the door for the batsman to finish the job.
Bowling had been the team's biggest weakness during the Asia Cup, and a solid performance against Pakistan was very much needed in order to boost morale.
As the Cric Wizz shows, they did more than just that:
With the bowling seemingly resolved, India could focus on what the team does best—scoring runs with one of the most dangerous batting line-ups in the world.
Rohit Sharma got things started with 24 runs on 21 balls before Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina each added more than 30, with the latter two never bowled out.
As explosive as the team's batting can be, it was the patience and coolness displayed against experienced bowlers like Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez that impressed the most. Never reaching for runs, the Indian batters simply took what was given and patiently worked their way toward the target of 131.
Andrew Gale agreed India's batting is as impressive as ever:
Can't see anyone beating India after watching that. Only weak areas are there seamers but there batting is different level!! #kohli— Andrew Gale (@GaleyLad) March 21, 2014
India's batting will make them a dangerous team to face regardless of the circumstances, but teams like Sri Lanka and West Indies looked out of reach for the Men in Blue due to the bowling issues and an overall quality India simply couldn't match.
But if Mishra and Jadeja can keep up the level of bowling we saw on display against Pakistan, the sky is the limit for one of the giants of world cricket.
With the defending champions West-Indies and a red-hot Australian team also vying for one of the top two spots that lead to the knockout stages, India will need a complete performance to qualify from Group 1. If the win over Pakistan is any indication, that's exactly what we're going to get.