World Cup holders India continued their formidable Champions Trophy form with a rain-marred eight-wicket demolition of arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday.
The highly anticipated encounter in front of 22,000 boisterous flag-waving supporters from both sides who packed the Edgbaston stands, was interrupted several times by bad weather over Birmingham.
In a match that was initially reduced to 40-overs-a-side, Pakistan were shot out for 165 in 39.4 overs after Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to field in overcast conditions.
India were set a Duckworth-Lewis target of 168 in 40 overs, which was later revised to 157 off 36 overs, before another rain delay reduced it further to 102 in 22 overs.
India, who were 63-1 in 11.3 overs at that stage, easily scored the remaining runs with 17 balls to spare to end their group B engagements with an all-win record.
Shikhar Dhawan hit a fluent 48 after sharing an opening stand of 58 with Rohit Sharma.
After both openers were dismissed, Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik saw India home in a match that held only academic interest for the tournament.
Pakistan, who had already been knocked out of the semi-final race after losing their previous two games, will return home with three successive defeats.
Dhoni’s men await the second-placed team from group A — to be determined after the last round of league matches yesterday and today — in the semi-final in Cardiff on Thursday.
South Africa, runners-up to India in group B, will play the top side from group A in the first semi-final at Oval, London, on Wednesday.
Dhoni said he was not surprised by the huge Indian support at Edgbaston and said he was delighted by the victory.
“We always get a lot of support from fans wherever we play in the world,” the Indian captain said. “It is satisfying that India is performing well in every department.”
“We are the top fielding side in world cricket at the moment and need to play with the same intensity in the rest of the tournament,” he said.
Dhoni said he was happy for seamer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, whose 2-19 from eight overs in Pakistan’s innings earned him the man-of-the-match award.
“Its good to see him bowl well,” Dhoni said. “Bhuvaneshwar bowls in very good areas and can swing the ball both ways. He is someone who invariably gives us early breaks.”