Asia Cup: Pakistan beat India by one wicket

Mirpur (Bangladesh), March 2 (IANS): Shahid Afridi slammed an unbeaten 18-ball 34 to give Pakistan a thrilling one-wicket win over India with two balls to spare at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here Sunday.

Chasing a target of 246, Pakistan almost lost the plot in the last few overs. They needed 13 runs from 12 balls with four wickets in hand. But then lost three quick wickets within a space of five balls.

Afridi, however, held his nerve and smacked spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for two cosecutive sixes in the last over as Pakistan reached 249 with two balls to spare.

Pakistan got to a good start with Ahmed Shehzad (42) and Sharjeel Khan (25) adding 71 runs for the first wicket.

But after the good start, Pakistan suffered a batting collapse, as Khan, Shehzad, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (1) and Umar Akmal (1) departed in quick succession to leave Pakistan at 113/4.

Mohammed Hafeez (75), who had also picked up two wickets with his spin, and Shoaib Maqsood (38) got Pakistan back on track with a 87-run partnership for the fifth wicket. They took Pakistan to the threshold of a win but Hafeez's dismissal in the 44th over triggered another batting collapse and from 200/4 they slumped to 236/9.

It was then left to Afridi to take the team home with his power-packed knock that was studded with two fours and three sixes. Hafeez, however, was adjudged Man of the Match for his all-round performance.

Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (3/44) and Amit Mihsra (2/28) picked up five wickets between them while pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar got two for 56.

Earlier, Pakistani bowlers restricted India to 245 for eight in 50 overs. Rohit Sharma (56), Ambati Rayudu (58) and Ravindra Jadeja (52) were the top scorers for India after they were put in by Misbah.

Pakistani spinners Saeed Ajmal (3/40) and 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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Title: Asia Cup: Pakistan beat India by one wicket

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