Pakistan bowlers restrict India to 245/8

Mirpur (Bangladesh), March 2 (IANS): Pakistani bowlers restricted India to 245 for eight in 50 overs in the sixth ODI of the Asia Cup cricket tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here Sunday.

Rohit Sharma (56), Ambati Rayudu (58) and Ravindra Jadeja (52) were the top scorers for India after they were put in by Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Pakistani spinners Saeed Ajmal (3/40) and Mohammed Hafeez (2/38) did most of the damage as they shared five wickets while young pacer Mohammad Talha made an impressive debut with his two for 22.

Pakistan started the proceedings with Hafeez and pace spearhead Umar Gul. And the ploy worked quickly as Shikhar Dhawan (10) fell in the third over trapped leg-before by Hafeez.

But Rohit kept the scoreboard moving with his quick-fire 58-ball knock that was laced with seven fours and two sixes. Rohit shared a 38-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli (5) but at a time when the partnership was growing in confidence, the India captain suffered a soft dismissal giving an edge to Umar Akmal off Gul.

Rohit became Talha's maiden ODI wicket with Hafeez taking a blinder while running backwards in the 20th over.

Ajinkya Rahane (23) and Dinesh Karthik (23) got good starts but failed to convert them into a big score. Rahane was Talha's second wicket with Hafeez taking another excellent catch at mid-wicket.

Karthik and Rayudu stitched a valuable 52-run stand for the fifth wicket but poor shot selection cost Karthik his wicket. The wicket-keeper batsman attempted a pre-meditated sweep against Hafeez and lobbed it to Ajmal at short-fine leg.

Rayudu and Jadeja then joined forces and pushed the score past the 200-run mark with their 59-run partnership for the sixth wicket. It was some power hitting by the duo that helped India score 77 runs in the last 10 overs.

It was a measured knock from Rayudu while Jadeja was aggressive right from the start. Jadeja also made the most of the opportunity he got on 12 when Hafeez dropped a sitter off his own bowling in the 43rd over.

Rayudu hit four fours and a six in his 62-ball knock and was dismissed after he failed to read a doosra from Ajmal and substitute fielder Anwar Ali took a good skier.

Jadeja, who struck four fours and two sixes in his 49-ball unbeaten knock, got to his fifty in style in the last over with a six off Junaid Khan but the pacer finished off the over in a clinical fashion giving away just three runs in the last four balls.


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