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Silly point - India vs Pakistan from up close - 13 March 2004

India Squeak Home In Titanic Tussle
Venue: National Stadium, Karachi
Toss: Won by Pakistan, decided to bowl.
Umpires: Simon Taufel and Nadeem Ghauri
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle
Result: India defeat Pakistan by 5 runs
Man of the Match: Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pakistan)
Series score: India lead the series 1-0.
The scoreboard:
India (349 for 7 wickets in 50 overs)
V Sehwag b Naved 79 (57)
(Was deceived by a slower delivery, missing it completely)

S Tendulkar c Naved b Akhtar 28 (35)
(Slashed the ball to gully without moving his feet)

S Ganguly c and b Naved 45 (47)
(Top-edged a pull off a short ball from outside off stump)

R Dravid b Akhtar 99 (104)

Y Singh c Hameed b Naved 3(9)
(Brilliant low, diving catch at mid-off after a mistimed drive)

M Kaif lbw b Sami 46(56)
(Played across the line, missed and was caught on the crease)

H Badani not out 8(5)

Z Khan b Sami 0 (2)
(Missed a yorker)

M Kartik not out 3(5)

Did not bat: L Balaji, A Nehra

Extras (1 byes, 6 leg byes, 10 wides, 21 no-balls) 38
Fall of wickets: 1-69 (Tendulkar, 9 overs), 2-142 (Sehwag, 14.2 overs), 3-214 (Ganguly, 26.2), 4-220 (Singh, 28.4 overs), 5-338 (Dravid, 48.5 overs), 6-344 (Kaif, 48.3 overs), 7-344 (Khan, 48.5 overs)
Batting landmarks:
50 in 5.3 overs; 100 in 10.2 overs; 150 in 17 overs; 200 in 24.3 overs; 250 in 35.4 overs; 300 in 43 overs.
Bowling:(read figures as 'overs-maidens-runs-wickets')
S Akhtar 10-0-55-2 ;M Sami 10-0-74-2 ; Naved-ul-Hassan 10-0-73-3; A Razzaq 9-0-83-0 ; S Malik 10-0-50-0; Y Hameed 1-0-5-0.
Pakistan (344 for 8 wickets in 50 overs)
Y Hameed b Balaji 7 (13)
(Beaten all ends up by a perfect offcutter that went between bat and pad)

I Farhat c Dravid b Khan 24(29)
(Pushed at a ball outside the off-stump, getting an edge)

Y Youhana c sub (Pathan) b Sehwag 73(67)
(tried a big hit but was caught on the long-off boundary)

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Dravid b Kartik 122 (104)
(Edged one to the wicket-keeper who took a fantastic catch)

Y Khan b Kartik 46(47)
(Tried to make way for a shot on the off side, missed the ball)

M Khan c Z Khan b Nehra 16(17)
(Tried to hit a low full toss for the six needed to win, was caught at mid-on)

A Razzaq b Z Khan 27(16)
(Tried to make room for a shot, was deceived by a slower ball)

S Malik c Kaif b Khan 7(5)
(Tried to hit the ball over mid-on, was superlatively held by the fielder)

Naved-ul-Hassan not out 3(4)

Did not bat: M Sami, S Akhtar

Extras ( 4 byes, 6 leg byes, 7 wides, 2 no balls)19
Fall of wickets: 1-32 (Hameed, 6.2), 2-34 (Farhat, 7.4 overs), 3-169 (Youhana, 27.4), 4- 278 (Inzamam-ul-Haq, 42.1 overs), 5-305(Y Khan, 44.5), 6-322 (Razzaq, 46.4 overs), 7-340 (Malik, 48.5), 8-344 (M Khan, 50 overs)
Batting landmarks:
50 in 11.4 overs; 100 in 18.3 overs; 150 in 24.4 overs; 200 in 33.2 overs; 250 in 39 overs; 300 in 44.2 overs.
Bowling:(read figures as 'overs-maidens-runs-wickets')
L Balaji 10-1-56-1; Z Khan 10-0-66-3; A Nehra 10-0-58-1; M Kartik 10-0-75-2 ; S Ganguly 1-0-10-0 ; S Tendulkar 3-0-34-0; V Sehwag 6-0-32-1

Highlights: Indian innings

* Inzamam-ul-Haq shocked everyone by electing to bowl first. Almost every expert in town (including the author) had predicted that the team winning the toss would bat first.
* India's most successful batsman in the one -day series in Austrlia,VVS Laxman missed out because of an injury sustained in the nets. That meant a recall for Mohammad Kaif, who had missed the Australian tour due to injury.
* This is India's highest ever score against Pakistan in a one-day international. The previous highest was 316-7 at Dhaka in 1997-98.
* Shoaib Akhtar is not likely to forget his first two overs in the match. He bowled four wides, three no-balls, beat both Tendulkar and Sehwag outside the off stump, was hammered for a four and top-edged for six by Tendulkar, had Sehwag dropped by Shoaib Malik and then had Tendulkar caught by Younis Khan off a no-ball! If that is not a busy life, I don't know what is!
* Naved-ul-Hassan will have mixed memories of this match. His opening over was a nightmare, containing five no balls and a few boundaries as well. Things seemed to be getting worse as his first three overs went for almost forty runs. However, he staged a comeback of sorts, taking three wickets and also holding the catch that dismissed Tendulkar.
* Tendulkar's dismissal seemed to inspire Sehwag to greater heights of aggression. The next three overs yielded 42 runs, with Ganguly not scoring even one of them!
* Rahul Dravid's 99 is the highest score made by an Indian on Pakistani soil, erasing the previous best of 94 not out by Dilip Vengsarkar at Sialkot in 1984.
* The Pakistani bowlers were in a generous mood, bowling 10 no-balls and 21 wides. That is not just an extra 31 runs but also 31 extra deliveries, almost five overs. It would cost them the match!
* Most team accelerate towards the end of their quota of overs. However, India actually slowed down in this period, scoring a mere 25 runs in the final five overs.
Highlights: Pakistan innings

* Pakistan's effort is the highest score ever made by a team batting second in an ODI.
* This is also the highest number of runs scored in an ODI, bettering the 660-odd runs scored in the match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Singapore in 1996.
* Pakistan took nearly four hours to bowl their quota of 50 overs but were not docked any overs when they came into bat. Only the match referee knows why! Mind you, India took just as long to bowl their overs, so it all evened out in the end.
* The seventh over of the innings (bowled by Balaji) was the first maiden over of a match. This was truly a batsman's paradise!
* Pakistan are the team that is known for 'taking care' of the ball to help it reverse swing. It was therefore a little surprising to see Simon Taufel warn the Indian fielders to stop rubbing dirt on the ball in the 25th over.
* The scoring patterns of India and Pakistan were exact opposites. India got off to an explosive start before stabilising and actually slowing down a bit towards the end. Pakistan on the other hand got off to a slower start before accelerating towards the end. Clearly there is more than one way to get to a big score in cricket!
* There was a mild confrontation between Sourav Ganguly and the umpires at the beginning of the 38th over when the Indian captain tried to introduce Zaheer Kahn into the attack. The problem was that Kahn had been off the field for a while and would therefore have to spend some time fielding before being allowed to bowl. Ganguly was not too pleased at the umpires' decision.
* Inzamam-ul-Haq had to acknowledge cheers for his hundred twice. There was a conflict between the official scores and the scores on the stadium scoreboard. When he reached 98, the stadium scoreboard showed him at 100, leading to the crowd applauding the feat. However, the score was corrected and a couple of runs later, the Pakistan captain was acknowledging cheers once again.
* This was Inzamam-ul-Haq's ninth ODI century and his third against India. It was also his highest score against India, beating the 121 not out he scores at Sharjah in 2000. Incidentally, he has also scored a total of 68 ODI fifties - more than anyone else in ODI history!
* The absence of a fifth specialist bowler proved costly for India. Ganguly, Sehwag and Tendulkar shared ten overs between themselves and went for 76 runs in all!
* India now has won two of its four ODI matches against Pakistan at Karachi. It has lost one with one match being abandoned.
Turning point of the match:
Inzamam-ul-Haq's decision to bowl first handed the initiative to India on a platter. The Karachi wicket is known to be good for batting and it would have needed something special from the Pakistani bowlers to put the Indian batting under pressure. The bowlers, however, decided to put in an extremely poor performance and Pakistan were never really in control. In the end, they were confronted by a colossal total which proved to be just out of reach.

Our men of the match:
(Such a great match deserves two awards and not one!)
Rahul Dravid may have got the highest score in the Indian total but it was Virendra Sehwag's dazzling innings that left the Pakistani attack in tatters. Lucky to be dropped when he had not even scored, Sehwag produced an innings of astonishing power, hitting boundaries seemingly at will. In all, he scored 79 off a mere 56 deliveries, with 14 fours and a six! That put India on the way to a colossal total. And as if that were not enough, he broke the dangerous-looking Youhanna- Inzamam partnership, dismissing Youhanna for 73.
It is rare that a player is essayed roles of hero and villain in the same match but Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq did just that today. During the Indian innings, he was severely criticised for electing to bowl and things did not improve when India recorded their highest-ever total against Pakistan. However, the tune of the critics changed abruptly as he proceeded to play one of the greatest innings ever seen in ODI history, spearheading a chase that most experts had thought impossible.
Lighter moment of the match:
Umpires are generally unemotional and objective creatures, doling out decisions without so much as blinking an eyelid. However, Australian Simon Taufel showed his human side, giving Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar a consoling pat as he struggled with his line and length and the Indian openers in his opening spell.
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