ADELAIDE: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hoped Sunday's World Cup win over Pakistan will serve as a “benchmark” for his team, but refused to gloat over the unbeaten tournament record against their arch-rivals.
“This was a complete game and should serve as a benchmark for the rest of the tournament,” Dhoni said after the defending champions' emphatic 76-run win in their opening Pool B encounter at the Adelaide Oval.
“We will play tougher sides in the tournament where we need to replicate this performance.”
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq, leading his nation to their sixth successive World Cup loss against India, wanted the players to forget the embarrassing record and look ahead to their remaining games.
“I dont know what happened,” Misbah said.
“But it is important to forget this loss and look to the future. The game is gone now, so we have to just concentrate on the next one.
“Every game we lose is hard, especially in the World Cups. But one must praise India too because it was a thoroughly professional performance by them.”
They batted well and they really bowled well. Full credit to them.
Virat Kohli hit 107, the first century by an Indian in World Cup matches against their arch-rivals, to lift his team to an imposing 300 for seven after they elected to bat on an even-paced pitch.
Mohammad Shami then picked up four wickets and Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma took two each as Pakistan were shot out for 224 with three overs to spare in the marquee clash.
Misbah played a lone hand with a valiant 76 off 84 balls that ensured Pakistan did not surpass their heaviest World Cup defeat, a 112-run reverse against England in Cape Town in 2003.
Kohli showed why he is one of the most feared batsmen in modern cricket as he survived two dropped catches to notch up his 22nd one-day international century in his 151st match at this level.
Dhoni, however, declined to read too much into the 6-0 tournament record against Pakistan and reminded reporters of their rivals' superior overall one-day record (72-51).
“This World Cup record is good and we are proud of it,” he said.
“But a time will come when we will lose to them. This record won't stay for the rest of our lives.”
“We should not forget that Pakistan has a better overall record than us. They are a fantastic side and it is never easy to beat them.”
“It certainly is not a normal game when India and Pakistan play. It is emotionally draining for everyone. But we can't afford to rest on one win. There is a lot of room for improvement.”
India next play South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground next Sunday, while Pakistan take on the West Indies in Christchurch on Saturday.
“We can't think of the India loss anymore,” said Misbah.
“If you just keep brooding over it then it will be really difficult to perform well. So I think we need to win the next game. That's the only way to stay in the tournament.”