Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan both scored centuries, and produced a batting master class to hand another lop-sided defeat to Pakistan in their Asia Cup 2018 Super Four match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
After captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and opted to bat first, Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq opened the innings for Pakistan, whereas Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah shared the new ball for India.
Following a cautious start, Pakistan were dealt the first blow on the final ball of the 8th over when Haq was trapped leg-before-wicket by Yuzvendra Chahal.
Zaman, who was joined by Babar Azam at the crease, smacked the day's first maximum in the 13th over bowled by Kuldeep Yadav.
The hard-hitting southpaw smashed another four to Yadav in the 15th over but like his fellow opener, fell leg-before-wicket when trying to sweep one. Replays showed that Zaman may have earned a reprieve had he opted for a review but he decided against it despite consulting his partner.
In the next over, Pakistan lost another big wicket, this time Azam being the casualty due to Sarfraz Ahmed's call. Azam responded to a call for a single by the skipper, who then cancelled the call, leaving him in the lurch on the non-striker's end.
The resultant run-out left Pakistan three-down and needing a major innings from their skipper, who was joined by Shoaib Malik — the last game's match-winner.
Run weren't flowing in the first place but the trifecta of wickets dried them up even more. A couple more tight overs followed to leave Pakistan 71-3 after 20 overs.
The duo rotated the strike for the next five overs, taking their side to 92-3 at the halfway mark of their innings.
While Sarfraz was content at picking up singles, Malik was growing in confidence; he launched Chahal over the long-on boundary in the 28th over, at the end of which the score was 108-3.
Both Sarfraz and Malik hit 4s in the 31st over as they searched for an extra gear in order to ensure that the match remains competitive in the second innings of the game.
Malik brought up his second straight half-century of the Asia Cup 2018 with a single in the 35th over, at the end of which Pakistan were 141-3.
But Sarfraz couldn't replicate him, holing out in cover off the bowling of Yadav in the 39th over, at the end of which Pakistan were 165-4.
Asif came alive in the 42nd over bowled by Kumar, hitting two massive 6s to go with two 4s. At the end of that over, which leaked 22 runs, Pakistan were 193-4.
Malik's prized wicket fell in the 44th over when he nicked one to Dhoni when trying to glance one to the fine leg.
In the 45th over, Asif fell prey to his hit-and-miss style, getting bowled out by Chahal as the Pakistani hopes of posting a 250-run target dwindled.
The Indian pacers bowled an extremely tight line and length in the final five overs, rarely giving them the opportunity to free their arms.
In the end, Pakistan finished with 237-7 in their allotted 50 overs.
Bumrah was the pick of the Indian bowlers, picking two wickets for just 29 runs in his 10, and in general being almost unhittable for Pakistani batters.
The usual pairing of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings for India, whereas Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi shared the new ball for Pakistan.
Dhawan struck the innings' first boundary in the 3rd over and repeated the trick in the 4th as both Indian batsmen looked nonplussed facing the southpaw pair.
Amir's lack of movement forced Sarfraz to replace him with Hasan Ali, who also conceded a boundary in his opening over, with his punisher being Sharma.
Sharma was given a lifeline in the sixth over when Imam inexplicably dropped an easy catch of his. The India openers made Pakistan pay for that reprieve as they easily dealt with whatever was hurled at them for the next four overs.
At the end of 10 overs, India were 53-0 — well and truly in the driving seat. And they kept it that way, taking their score to 72-0 at the end of 15 overs as Pakistan's search for a breakthrough continued.
Dhawan brought up his half-century in the 18th over with a boundary towards the square leg. Sharma followed suit four overs later.
From that point on, the Indian openers started toying with the Pakistani bowlers, finding boundaries almost at will to boost their score to 179-0 at the end of 30 overs.
Like the 50, Dhawan completed his century before Sharma as well, reaching the mark in the 33rd over. The contest, by this point, had long been over.
Pakistan finally found a breakthrough but it was no more than a consolation. Confusion between Sharma and Dhawan saw the latter run out.
Sharma completed his century in the 36th over as India inched closer to another lop-sided victory over Pakistan.
They reached their target at a canter with 63 balls to spare and nine wickets in hand. Dhawan was named the man of the match for his swashbuckling 114 off 100 balls. Sharma finished unbeaten at 111 off 119 balls.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said of the pitch at Dubai International Stadium: "It looks good to bat on and hopefully we can score enough today."
"Mohammad Amir is playing today. He's a main player. Shadab Khan is back as well. Haris Sohail and Usman Khan are out. We want to score 250-plus," Sarfraz said.
Pakistan had dropped struggling fast bowler Amir against Afghanistan, but he was recalled today after the team's unconvincing bowling display. Left-arm medium-pacer and newcomer Shaheen Afridi, who took two wickets against Afghanistan, is also in the team today.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said he would be happy if his side continued to bowl the way it had during its last two games. "We restricted the teams to decent totals."
"We have to come out here, bowl well and chase whatever target they give us. Quite happy with the wristspinners. They are still learning, they went wicketless in the last two games, but they know exactly what they are doing."
"They've done it in the past many times. There will be games where they are not successful. That doesn't mean they are bad bowlers or are not bowling to plan. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the opposition. They understand the pitch here is quite slow and they understand they need to vary the pace," Sharma said.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain and wicket keeper), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma (captain), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wicket keeper), Dinesh Karthik, Kedhar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.