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India played like favourites, says Afridi

Shahid Afridi was appalled by Pakistan's abject surrender but he credited India for their commanding show, saying the defending champions lived upto the favourites tag in their Champions Trophy opener here.
Afridi, a former Pakistan captain, said his country's drab show on Sunday night took away all the excitement from what was expected to be a high-voltage Group B encounter.

"The Indo-Pak Champions Trophy encounter failed to live up to its hype as Pakistan produced a forgettable performance at Edgbaston. As a Pakistani supporter, the drab show was a painful watch indeed as India once again proved that it has a stranglehold over its neighbour that it is in no mood to relinquish," Afridi wrote in a column for the ICC.

"India started as the favourite and played the entire game in the same frame of mind, even as Pakistan crumbled limply."

India launched their ICC Champions Trophy campaign with a resounding 124-run victory over Pakistan last night, extending their dominance over the arch-rivals in major ICC tournaments.

Analysing the match, Afridi said India came hard on skipper Sarfraz Ahmed's shoddy game plan.

"Sarfraz Ahmed won what was a crucial toss in tricky weather conditions. When rain is around, the team batting second gets a huge advantage. Unfortunately though, a poor game plan and shoddy execution, besides abysmal fielding, nullified the advantage," he said.

"Mohammad Amir bowled a splendid first over and I thought he would strike with the new ball. Strangely though, Sarfraz handed the other new ball to Imad Wasim despite the overcast conditions. The tactic was perplexing for me since the match wasn't being played in the UAE! Even if Sarfraz wanted to surprise India, he should have deployed his faster bowlers after an over or two from Imad," he said.
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