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Asia Cup 2014: Pakistan pip India at the post; Shahid Afridi the hero

Shahid Afridi scored a quick-fire unbeaten 34 off 18 deliveries to help Pakistan win against India © AFP (File Photo)
Shahid Afridi scored a quick-fire unbeaten 34 off 18 deliveries to help Pakistan win against India © AFP (File Photo)

By Shrikant Shankar

Mar 2, 2014

Pakistan beat India by one wicket in the sixth match of the Asia Cup 2014 at Mirpur on March 2, 2014. Pakistan’s victory puts them ahead of India in the points table. Mohammad Hafeez top-scored for Pakistan with 75 runs. Shahid Afridi finished the match for Pakistan with an unbeaten 34.

This is the first time since October 2012 that Pakistan have chased down a score of over 242 in ODIs. Pakistan were at a relatively comfortable 233 for six in the 48th over. Then Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed Umar Gul and Mohammad Talha in the 49th over. Then Saeed Ajmal was bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin on the first ball of the 50th over.

That increased the pressure on Afridi. But he struck two consecutive sixes on the third and fourth deliveries to get Pakistan over the line. With the win Pakistan have gone above Sri Lanka in the points table. They have played three matches and won two and lost one. India are in third position and with one win and two losses.

Pakistan got off to a bright start with openers Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad scoring boundaries easily. India’s new-ball bowlers were unable to get their line and length right. But there was an appeal for caught-behind against Shehzad. Bhuvneshwar bowled an away swinging good length delivery and there was a noise as Dinesh Karthik collected the ball behind the wickets.

But the umpire ruled not out and replays showed that the ball had clipped the pad and not the bat. Shehzad then hit a fuller delivery from Bhuvneshwar down the ground for another four. Sharjeel then hit a good length delivery from Bhuvneshwar over mid-on for a four.

Sharjeel pulled a back of a length delivery from Mohammed Shami over deep mid-wicket for a big six. Shami then bowled a similar delivery and Sharjeel hit that away for a four in the same region. Pakistan reached their 50 in the eighth over.

Looking at the situation, Virat Kohli brought in Ashwin in the ninth over. Ravindra Jadeja came into the attack in the 10th over. Shehzad played a back-foot cover drive to a god length delivery from Jadeja for a four. He then got one behind backward-point for another four.

Just as the openers looked like getting away with it, Ashwin struck. Sharjeel was bowled by Ashwin for 25 in the 11th over. And withing a few overs, Shehzad was dismissed by leg-spinner Amit Mishra. The batsman pulled length delivery to Ashwin at short mid-wicket.

Then Misbah-ul-Haq was run out for four after a mix-up with Hafeez. Umar Akmal then skied a turning delivery from Mishra towards cover. Jadeja took a brilliant catch running backwards. But Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood steadied the ship for Pakistan. The duo added 87 runs for the fifth wicket.

Hafeez reached his half-century in the 35th over. This was his 19th half-century in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Kohli mostly employed his spinners in the batting power play overs. Ashwin bowled a wide down the leg side and Hafeez came forward and missed it. Karthik fluffed his chance to stump and Hafeez survived.

Maqsood had settled in by then and he hit a length delivery from Mishra over wide long-on for a six. Jadeja came in and then bowled a maiden over in the 42nd over. Shami bowled a short delivery and Hafeez pulled it for a six over square-leg in the 43rd over.

Kohli then threw the ball to Ashwin and he struck by dismissing Hafeez for 75 off 117 deliveries. Hafeez top-edged a slog-sweep and Bhuvneshwar took a very good catch at long-leg. And that was followed by Maqsood getting run out for 38. He pushed one towards square-leg and set off for a single. Afridi sent him back and he was was short of the crease.

Afridi took up the mantle of scoring the runs with a six and four of consecutive deliveries in the 46th over bowled by Jadeja. He then swept Bhuvneshwar for a four behind square on the leg side. Gul also got amongst the runs with a six over deep mid-wicket.

There were a flurry of wickets right at the end, but Afridi turned out to be the hero for Pakistan. But despite his pyrotechnics at the end, Hafeez was chosen as the Man of the Match.

Earlier in the match, India had posted 245 for eight in 50 overs after Misbah-ul-Haq had sent them into bat. Rohit Sharma scored 56 runs off 58 deliveries. Ambati Rayudu top-scored for India with 58 off 62 deliveries. Ravindra Jadeja’s fireworks towards the end got them to a competitive total.

Saeed Ajmal was the pick of the bowlers as he took three wickets for 40 runs. Debutant Mohammad Talha and Hafeez took two wickets each.

Brief scores:

India 245 for 8 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 56, Ambati Rayudu 58, Ravindra Jadeja 52*; Saeed Ajmal 3 for 40, Mohammad Talha 2 for 22, Mohammad Hafeez 2 for 38) lost to Pakistan 249 for 9 in 49.4 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 42, Mohammad Hafeez 75, Sohaib Maqsood 38, Shahid Afridi 34*; Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 44, Amit Mishra 2 for 28, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2 for 56) by 1 wicket.

Man of the Match: Mohammad Hafeez

Full Scorecard

Photo Gallery

Asia Cup 2014 Points Table

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

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