PAKISTAN OUT OF ASIA CUP

June 20th, 2010 by Ravi Matah | Posted in Sports   No Comments »
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Harbhajan’s  shot over the midwicket fence helped India over-haul Pakistan’s score of 267 runs  in a thrilling encounter at the Rangiri stadium in Dambulla on Saturday in the 4th ODI of the Asia Cup.

Harbhajan Singh smashed the penultimate ball from Mohammad Aamer for a six as India knocked Pakistan out of the Asia Cup with a three-wicket win on Saturday. He scored an unbeaten 15 runs off 11 balls and received the prize of the Lord of the Match.

Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh

Both India and  Sri Lanka are into the final which will be played on June 24  and the last two league matches are inconsequential.

Opener Gautam Gambhir hit 83 off 97 balls and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni chipped in with 57 during a third-wicket stand of 97 which lifted India to 180-2 in the 36th over.

But Gambhir’s dismissal at that stage, bowled by Saeed Ajmal, brought a middle-order collapse which saw four wickets fall for the addition of 39 runs only.

Dhoni was bowled by Shoaib Malik and Rohit Sharma was trapped leg-before by Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi ,  and  Ajmal  got the wicket of  Ravindra Jadeja to make it 219-6 in the 46th over.

Raina and Harbhajan then stepped in to lead the ‘operation recovery’ and crush a valiant Pakistan side’s hopes of staying alive in the tournament.

Earlier, Afridi won the toss and elected to bat in the day-night international.  

India’s attempts to stop the flow of runs from Pakistan batting proved futile as they piled up 267   runs with Salman Butt scoring a swashbuckling 74 and Kamran contributing a splended  half century. But their midddle order buckled and they lost 3 wickets at frequent intervals which did not allow them to cross the coveted 300 runs mark, which they were anticipating at that time.

They had managed to reach 200 in the 39th over and it was then that Praveen Kumar struck, taking the wicket of Shahid Afridi and then got the wocket of Abdul Razzaq. It was Kamran Akmal who took on the responsibility on his shoulders to take Pakistan to 267 runs in 49.3 overs, contributing valuable 51 runs.

Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra bowled well but the Pakistan openers Salman Butt and Farhat played very confidently confidently.

The pitch was true and did not offer much bounce to the pacemen and Dhoni introduced Harbhajan Singh in the 15th over. Harbhajan Singh forced an edge from Farhat with a slower delivery and Virender Sehwag grabbed a superb catch to his right.

Pakistan were 71 for 1.  Harbhajan got 2 wickets for 47 runs. Pakistan had slipped quickly from 144 for 1 to 159 for 4. Pakistan sent in Umar Amin at No. 5 but his innings was ended by a left-handed catch by Virat Kohli at first slip for 5 runs.

Shahid Afridi scored 32 runs off 25 balls which included 2 boundaries and a six. Kamran Akmal’s 51 comprised of 2 boundaries and three sixes.

Other wicket takers for India were Praveen Kumar 3 for 53, Zaheer Khan 2 for 41 and Jadeja 1 for 43.

In reply thereto India made 271 for 7. It was a match with an unbelievable finish and those with  weak heart should not see such encounters. The contest had it’s up and downs like a roller coaster and heated up like an oven when only 2 overs were left.

It was also a must win situation for India also and they started of the run-chase  well with a superb partnership between Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir which brought 98 runs but the wobbling of knees of the middle order spoiled the score-graph elevation achieved earlier.

Rohit Sharma contributed 22 runs with two boundaries to his credit. The middle order failed to deliver today with the exception of Raina scoring 34.

 Ajmal bowled well was the only bowler to trouble the batsmen consistently, finishing off with 3/56 in 10 overs.

India needed 49 from 29 balls when Jadeja got out. However, Raina and Harbhajan kept their cool and added 43 for the seventh wicket keeping Indian hopes alive and well in sight of victory.

With 6 needed from 5 balls, Raina was run-out and that turned the tables again in favour of Pakistan but Harbhajan smashed a six off the penultimate ball and roared like a lion on the pitch and celeberations were on in the Indian dressing room.

Presentations.

Most Stylish Innings                 – Salman Butt

Maximum Sixes                         –  Kamran Akmal

Onida Rocking Performer          –  Suresh Raina

Fevicol Jodi                                 –  M.S.Dhoni and Suresh Raina

Lord of the Match                       –   Harbhajan Singh

Winners cheque US $ 10,000  – M.S.Dhoni for India.

Man of the Match                       – Gautam Gambhir U.S.$ 5000, a Trophy and a Mobile Phone.

Ravi Matah.

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