Vol. 5 Num 317 Mon. April 18, 2005  

Pepsi Cup
India v Pakistan 2005

Fightback Pakistan style
India slump to new low; tourists clinch ODI series 4-2

Pakistan capped a fairytale fight-back with a 159-run victory over India in the sixth and final one-dayer marred by crowd trouble here on Sunday to clinch the series 4-2.

Pakistan, who had lost the first two matches, completed their fourth successive win when they bundled the hosts out for 144 in reply to their own challenging total of 303-8 in the last game of their tour.

India had all but lost the match before a missile-throwing incident forced the rival teams to walk off the heavily-guarded Ferozeshah Kotla ground.

They were then reeling at 94-6 after a spineless batting performance, which had left the spectators angry. The win was a formality for Pakistan when the game resumed after nearly 20 minutes.

It was a new low for India as they suffered their biggest defeat in terms of runs and the biggest in any one-dayer against Pakistan. Pakistan's 143-run victory at Jaipur in 1989-90 was their previous best victory margin against India.

It was a disappointing end to John Wright's five-year stint as India coach as his players failed to rise to the occasion in his farewell match.

The fixture was watched for more than an hour in the morning by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Pakistan produced a fine batting performance on a good pitch with Shoaib Malik scoring 72, skipper Inzamamul Haq 68, Yousuf Youhana 50.

Afridi led the way with an explosive 23-ball 44 and Inzamam applied the finishing touches with a run-a-ball knock.

In contrast, India's batting woes began early when they lost hard-hitting openers Virender Sehwag for 21 and Sachin Tendulkar for nine.

Sehwag was caught by Afridi in the slips off medium-pacer Navedul Hasan, while Tendulkar was bowled by Rao Iftikhar off an inside-edge.

India suffered a big blow when in-form stand-in captain Rahul Dravid was run out for 19 to leave his team wobbling at 64-3 after a smart pick up and throw from Yousuf Youhana at mid-on.

India's running between the wickets continued to let them down when Yuvraj Singh became the second victim after a mix-up with Mahendra Dhoni. Youhana again did the trick with a direct-hit.

Pakistan virtually wrapped up the match when they sent India reeling to 94-6 after dismissing Dhoni and Mohammad Kaif in quick succession.

Malik and Inzamam were instrumental in Pakistan's building of a sizeable total after they had elected to bat. The pair built on Afridi's early flourish to help their team set a challenging target.

Afridi, who smashed the second-fastest century off 45 balls in the last match at Kanpur on Friday, was again in a destructive mood as he struck one six and six fours in an entertaining cameo knock.

India were left stunned after the free-stroking opener exploded into action in only the second over with a flurry of boundaries, punishing Ashish Nehra.

First he flicked him for three successive fours, before pulling him over mid-wicket for a six and driving him through the covers for a final boundary to tot up 22 off the over.

But Nehra had the last laugh, finally dismissing Afridi when he had the danger man caught behind steering a slower ball to third-man.

But there was no respite for India.

Youhana and Malik steadied the innings with an 85-run stand for the third wicket and then Inzamam added 91 for the fifth with Younis Khan making 40 to help his team cross the 300-mark.

Malik, who scored 75 and 65 in the third and fourth matches, was again in good form as he hit eight fours in his 14th half-century before being bowled by Ajit Agarkar.

Pakistan scored 91 in the last 10 overs, largely thanks to Inzamam who eventually fell to a poor decision in the final over when Indian umpire Arani Jayaprakash wrongly adjudged he had made contact with the ball.

PAKISTAN UNITED: The victorious Pakistan cricket team with the Pepsi one-day series trophy at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP