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Rediff.com  » Sports » India win by 40 runs

India win by 40 runs

Last updated on: March 24, 2004 22:55 IST

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India beat Pakistan by 40 runs in the fifth and final One-Day International on Wednesday to clinch the series 3-2.

A fighting 72 by Moin Khan was in vain as Pakistan, chasing 294 for victory, were all out for 253 in 47.5 overs.

Shoaib Malik also chipped in with a fine 64, after Pakistan were reeling at 96 for 6 in the 24th over, but it was not enough to see the hosts overhaul the Indian total.

Irfan Pathan was India's most successful bowler, claiming three wickets from 32 runs from ten overs.

Earlier, after three failures, VVS Laxman came good with a fine 107 to guide India to a healthy total. He was well-supported by skipper Sourav Ganguly, who scored 45, after India had lost openers Virender Sehwag (20) and Sachin Tendulkar (37) by the 15th over.

Mohammad Sami was Pakistan's most successful bowler, claiming three wickets for 63 runs in his ten overs.

India innings:

Pakistan won the toss for the fifth consecutive in the series and elected to field first in the deciding match at Lahore. The 'dew' factor in the evening played a major part in Inzamam-ul Haq's decision. The Pakistan bowlers had complained that the dew made it difficult to control the ball.

The hosts made one change to the side that lost the fourth ODI on the same ground on Sunday, replacing all-rounder Shahid Afridi with opener Taufeeq Umar.

India retained the same side that won by five wickets to level the series 2-2.

The Indian innings was given its trademark quick start by Virender Sehwag. The opener punished Shabbir Ahmed early on as India rolled along at almost six an over.

But Sehwag always gives the opposition a chance while he is at the wicket. And so it was to be. He tried to glide a short of a good length delivery from Shabbir and only managed to get a thick edge straight to the keeper much to the crowd's delight. (34-1)

V V S Laxman was in next. He had showed glimpses of his best form while scoring a quick 20 in the fourth ODI. Today, he started off proceedings with a well-controlled flick down to fine leg.

Tendulkar had put on 45 runs with the Hyderabadi before Mohammad Sami got the better of the little master. A good length delivery just outside the off-stump induced a faint edge from Tendulkar's bat and Moin Khan made no mistake. (79-2)

At the end of 15 overs, India were 82/2.

The pitch was starting to play its part in the proceedings and the odd ball was starting to keep low as early as the 22nd over.

But Sourav Ganguly and Laxman, the only two Indian batsmen not to get a half-century in the series, were determined to set the record right today. Runs did not come too quickly, but at a decent rate. By the end of the 25 overs, India had quietly progressed to 134/2.

Laxman reached his fifty off 52 balls, a clear indication of how well he batted. He was never in any trouble and his good form augurs well for the Test series.

The duo put on 92 runs at over five runs an over and it was only a piece of quick thinking by Inzamam and Shoaib Akhtar that saw the back of the Indian skipper.

The two batsmen had looked in no trouble whatsoever till Inzamam decided to reintroduce Akhtar into the attack. The first ball was short, fast and directed at Ganguly's head. The second was a short delivery into his ribs; Ganguly got a single. When he got back on strike, Shoaib had set him up for the sucker punch. A slowish delivery outside the off-stump saw Ganguly fishing outside the off-stump.

The Indian skipper was gone after scoring 45 and he was clearly cross at his gaffe. (171-3)

The Indians were in a good position. All that was needed now was a spurt in the scoring rate that could see them get more than 300. But Mohammad Sami made sure that would not happen when he clean bowled Rahul Dravid (2).

The momentum had now swung Pakistan's way with the fall of those two quick wickets. India were also lucky when Laxman was dropped by Umar on 62. The fielder, most probably, lost the ball in the sun as he made a hash of an easy chance.

Yuvraj Singh, who took Dravid's place at the wicket, never really got going like we know he can. The left-hander scored 18 off 19 balls and put on 44 runs in 36 balls with Laxman before being dismissed by Shabbir.

The runs were still coming quickly but not quickly enough. The final thrust was still needed to push India beyond the 300-mark. But it never came.

Laxman was eventually dismissed trying to up the ante. Playing shots in the air has never been his strong point. But it was time to throw caution to the wind and attack the Pakistan bowling. He came down the track in bid to loft Shoaib Malik into the stands and skied the ball to Sami in the cover region.

The right-hander scored a vital 107 off just 104 balls, which included 11 boundaries, to hold the Indian innings together.

Irfan Pathan walked to the crease and chanced his arm around with a rare relish.

In the 48th over of the innings, Kaif walked out of his crease to play Akhtar. The move clearly ruffled the fast bowler, who virtually stopped in his tracks and had a word with Kaif. The intent was clear and Akhtar's reputation certainly did not faze the Indians.

Kaif (16 off 20 balls) was gone in the next over but Lakshmipathy Balaji (10 runs off 6 balls) once again smashed the ball to all parts of the ground. Pathan went even better as he hit 20 runs off just 12 balls.

25 runs came off Shoaib Akhtar's final three overs; 81 runs off the last ten overs of the innings. Vital runs that just might see India eke out a victory in this match.

Pakistan, for their part, bowled just 16 extras, a far cry from their series average of over 25.

Pakistan innings:

At the start of their innings, Pakistan would have known the importance of getting some quick runs. In much the same manner, the Indians would have realized that unless they got some early wickets the match could run away from them.

293 is a huge total. In an ordinary series, it would have been a winning one. But in this series, where the totals have exceeded 300 with regularity, nothing could be taken as safe.

Almost immediately upon resumption, Balaji struck the first, vital blow for the Indians. In just the second over of the match, he dismissed the danger man, Yasir Hameed. A good length delivery, pitched outside the off stump and coming in with the angle that Balaji bowls from, uprooted Hameed's off-stump.

For a split second all you could hear was the Indian players celebrating. The Pakistan opener looked at the pitch in disbelief even as the crowd found its voice and applauded Balaji's bowling. (8-1)

The Indians then took wickets with such regularity that Pakistan never really got into the game from that point on.

The third over saw Pathan dismiss Yousuf Youhana in identical fashion as he had in the fourth ODI. He got a delivery to move in off the pitch and strike Youhana plumb in front of the wicket. A prolonged appeal followed before umpire David Shepherd eventually gave the decision in India's favour.

Replays later showed that there might have been an inside edge and the ball may have been going over the stumps. But Youhana was heading back to the pavilion. (9-2)

The next over from Balaji saw Umar smash three boundaries as 12 runs came off the over. While Irfan was bowling in a miserly fashion, Balaji was hammered in his first two overs.

But then Pathan dismissed Umar even as he walked across his stumps. Umar misread the length and the ball clipped the leg stump to put Pakistan in deep trouble. (25-3)

Balaji conceded 34 runs in five expensive overs but, luckily for him, the wickets kept falling at the other end.

Skipper Sourav Ganguly suffered a lower back injury when he dived to try and stop the ball from going to the boundary. He was in pain and had to be carried off the field. He played no further part in the game.

Pathan then struck for the third time in the early going to claim Younis Khan's wicket. He bowled a few deliveries that came into the right-hander and then bowled one slightly wide. The ball did the trick as the batsman tried to extravagantly hit him straight through the cover-point region. But he found Yuvraj Singh and was soon heading back to the pavilion.

The 33-run partnership settled things a little bit but the need of the hour was for plenty more. (58-4)

At this stage, Pakistan's hopes rested solely on their skipper, Inzamam. He had shown earlier that he has the ability to carry the Pakistan innings but was this asking for too much?

Inzamam looked in very good touch, as he stroked the ball with a touch of class. He had made 38 off 51 balls before he perished going for one big shot too many.

The big man came down the track as he tried to loft Murli Kartik straight over his head for a six. But he hit it hard, flat and straight to the long-on boundary, where Tendulkar brought off a brilliant catch. (87-5)

From this point on it was a fight for survival; a fight against suffering an embarrassing defeat. The Pakistan batsmen played too many shots, when all they needed to do was bide their time and let the conditions turn in their favour.

Shoaib Malik and Moin Khan tried to salvage a grim situation. For 20 overs, they waged a lone battle. A war against an Indian team that was at its best. The odd boundary started to come and though victory was still far off, the Indians were starting to get a little nervous.

Pakistan had reached 195 without any further loss before Malik (65) tried to slog sweep over the deep mid-wicket region, but hit the ball only as far as Kaif, who took a well-judged catch in increasingly hazy conditions.

Virender Sehwag got the much-needed breakthrough for the Indians. His wicket was all the encouragement India needed to quickly complete the formalities.

Three quick wickets followed as India cruised to an impressive 40-run victory and claimed the Samsung Cup in the process.

Moin Khan, the last man to be dismissed, top-scored for Pakistan with 72 off 71 balls. Irfan Pathan was the best Indian bowler on the day. He claimed three wickets for 32.

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq received the man-of-the-series award after scoring 340 runs at an average of 68.00 during the five matches.

India's V V S Laxman was adjudged the man-of-the-match for his brilliant century.

Ashish Magotra
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