Captain Rohit Sharma’s 86 and an inspired bowling display helped India hammer Pakistan by seven wickets in their high-profile World Cup clash at the 132,000-capacity Ahmedabad stadium on Saturday.
India bowled out Pakistan for 191 after their rivals collapsed from 155-2.
They overhauled the total with 117 balls to spare to extend their unbeaten streak against their neighbours to eight in the 50-over showpiece tournament.
Rohit stood out in his 63-ball knock laced with six fours and six sixes to keep India, who began the event as favourites to win the title, unbeaten in their three matches in this edition.
Pakistan now have two wins and one defeat in the 10-nation tournament.
“It felt good,” said man of the match, Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah who had figures of 2-19 off nine overs.
Rohit hit the ball to all parts of the ground with his delightful flicks and pulls to entertain an almost all-Indian crowd at the world’s biggest cricket stadium after Pakistanis were effectively banned from attending.
India lost Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli — both for 16 — before Rohit and Shreyas Iyer, who hit the winning four to reach 53, put on 77 runs for the third wicket and placed India comfortably on course for victory.
Rohit fell attempting another hit off Shaheen Shah Afridi to get caught at mid-wicket, but Iyer and KL Rahul took the team home with ease.
Bowlers set up victory after India elected to field and Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets each.
Pakistan were bowled out in 42.5 overs, losing eight wickets for 36 runs in 80 balls.
The total was Pakistan’s third lowest against India in the World Cup after their 173 in Sydney (1992) and 180 at Manchester (1999).
Pakistan started strongly but lost their openers before skipper Babar Azam (50) and Mohammad Rizwan (49) attempted to rebuild and hit back in their stand of 82.
Azam reached his fifty off 57 balls with a boundary but fell in the next over, bowled by Siraj as the crowd roared to see the back of the world’s number one ODI batsman.
Kuldeep Yadav soon struck twice in an over to send back the left-handed Saud Shakeel and Iftikhar Ahmed, bowled around the legs for four after the ball deflected off the batsman’s gloves.
Bumrah denied Rizwan his fifty with a slower-off cutter that rattled the stumps as Pakistan slipped to 168-6.
Bumrah, playing in front of his home crowd, had a spring in his step and struck again in the next over to get Shadab Khan out for two before Pandya and Jadeja combined to wrap up the tail.
“You try to analyse the wicket as soon as possible so when we started bowling, we came to know that the wicket was on the slower side and a hard length would make run-scoring more difficult,” added Bumrah.
“There was no consistent turn but it was turning a little bit and I count my slower ball as a spinner so I thought it might be an option. I was trying to do that and it gripped – it was one of those days.”
The hotly-anticipated match raised enormous interest with city hotels booked and desperate fans even booking full-body check ups in local hospitals to be sure of a place to sleep.
A prominent hotel in the city usually charges 6,000 rupees ($72) for a deluxe room but on Friday, Saturday and Sunday the price for a day had been hiked to 70,000 rupees ($841).
Only a trickle of Pakistanis, many expatriates, made it to the game after fans from across the border endured visa delays.