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Indo Pak Cricket Series - 2004

Pakistan take lead as runs finally dry up!

A word of advice - when India are playing Pakistan, you need bother investing in a nail-clipper. The chances are that you will have bitten your nails down thoroughly, thanks to the tense cricket that is likely to be served up by these teams.

If we thought that it would be difficult to match the nerve-wracking affairs at Karachi and Rawalpindi, Peshawar proved us wrong. Once again, this was a match with fortunes fluctuating like a stock exchange gone crazy. Pakistan seemed to be in charge when their opening bowlers decimated the Indian batting order but a great innings by Yuvraj and a cheeky one by Balaji brought India right back into the match. Then it was Pakistan's turn to be rocked as Pathan and Balaji reduced them to 65-4. Hameed and Inzamam put Pakistan in control but fell within 20 runs of each other, and India seemed all set to grab the lead. Abdur Razzaq and Moin Khan finally saw Pakistan home, amid close calls, a dropped catch and some inexplicable captaincy from Sourav Ganguly.

Coverage of India Pakistan Cricket Series - 2004

One of cricket's most intense rivalries resumes as the Indian team undertakes its first full-fledged tour of Pakistan since 1989. Will India repeat its success Down Under or will Pakistan maintain its unbeaten record against India at home? Our special previews and match reports will keep you in touch with events as they unfold, spiced up with lots of trivia, statistics and humour. Read it here.

India Clobber Hosts to Create History

by Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


India wins an ODI series in Pakistan for the first time when they defeated the hosts by 40 runs in the final match of the five match series.
Read the complete match review...

Wrapping it up

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


As the dust settles on the India-Pakistan ODI series, our Cricket Pundit reviews the action and its likely impact on the forthcoming Test series.
Read on...

All or Nothing at Lahore

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


It is a dream finale for the India-Pakistan series with both teams going into the final match locked at 2-2. Our Cricket Pundit takes some time out from chewing his nails and shares his thoughts on the match.
Read our Pundit's match preview...

Pakistan wilt in face of Indian blitzkrieg

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


An astounding win for India, levelling the series 2-2. Stage set for an enthralling final ODI meet on the 24th of March at the same venue in Lahore.
Read the complete match report...

Lead up for grabs at Peshawar

by Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


More than 1200 runs in two matches, two close finishes, the series tied at one-all… ED’s Cricket Pundit has a lot on his mind as he looks ahead to the match at Peshawar.
Read more on the match preview...

Two-all or Game and Series, Pakistan

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


With Pakistan 2-1 up with two matches to go, the pressure is very much on the Indian team that had started the series as favourites. Our Cricket Pundit looks ahead to the first of the two matches at Lahore, which will decide who will win the series.
Read the match preview...

Run Rain Continues As Pakistan Get On Level Terms

Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


Pakistan squares series 1-1 in a game of nerves at Rawalpindi. Read the complete match report of this exiciting match here.
Read on...

Rivalry to resume at Rawalpindi!

Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


“As the dust settles after the run rain in Karachi, ED’s Cricket Pundit reviews the series opener and looks ahead to the second match at Rawalpindi.”
Read what our Pundit's got to say...

Pakistan take lead as runs finally dry up!

Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


Pakistan takes lead in an keenly contested match at Peshawar. Read our Pundit's analysis of this cliffhanger.
Read on...

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

India go one-up in run feast It rained runs at Karachi. When the dust finally finally settled, a world record 693 runs had been scored and India had got home by a whisker.
Read Silly Point for more...

India vs Pakistan: The Curtain Goes Up

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


As the one day series gets underway, we analyse the prospects of the two teams and also take a look at the venue of the first match, Karachi.
Catch the action here...

India Vs Pakistan: A curtain raiser

Nimish Dubey

As the one day series gets underway, we analyse the prospects of the two teams and also take a look at the venue of the first match, Karachi.
Read the article

India vs Pakistan: The Curtain Goes Up

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


(With the India-Pakistan cricket series all set to start, Nimish Dubey, our resident cricket pundit, was feeling a bit lonely – none of the television channels had asked him for his comments – and decided to have a conversation with himself. If you feel like asking him a question or two feel free to drop him an e-mail at nimish@enableall.org.)

Q. So the series is going ahead after all. What is so special about India-Pakistan encounters? I mean, both sides are calling it just another series and nothing special…

A. If this is just another series, then the Oscars are just another award!

Look, there are rivalries and rivalries, and then there is India vs Pakistan. Mind you, I am talking only of the one-day international (ODI) matches between the two nations. The Test matches between them have generally put even insomniacs to sleep, but the shorter version of the game has been a different story altogether. From India bowling out Pakistan for under three figures after themselves being dismissed for 126 and Javed Miandad’s epic six to win the AustralAsia Cup off the final ball, to Kanitkar’s winning boundary in a record run chase in the Dhaka twilight and Tendulkar’s vicious assault on Shoaib Akhtar in the recent World Cup…there are memorable moments and cliff-hangers by the dozen when the teams involved are India and Pakistan.

Add that thrilling history to the fact that India last played an ODI series in Pakistan seven years ago and you get the picture.

Q. Sourav Ganguly says that the team is under no pressure. How tough is it going to be playing in Pakistan?

A. Well, you can hardly expect him to say that India are shaking with fear! As for difficulty, India have NEVER won a one-day series (or a Test Match) in Pakistan. What more can one say? The crowds are notoriously partisan (you will be able to hear a pin drop when an Indian batsman hits a boundary) and noisy, and the high security arrangements are likely to affect the Indian team more than the hosts. Pakistan definitely will be the more comfortable of the two sides going into the series.

Q. The big question: who is likely to win?

A.  I have no crystal ball handy, but on paper and on recent form, Sourav Ganguly’s team seems to hold the edge. After all, they made the final of the 2003 World Cup, the ICC Trophy, and the recent VB Series. And then there is the awesome batting form of the likes of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Ganguly himself, Dravid and Laxman to be reckoned with. The bowling and fielding still seems shockingly inadequate, but then one-day cricket is supposed to be a batsman’s game and India definitely seem to be one-up on their rivals here.

Pakistan for their part seem to be one of the most unpredictable sides in world cricket, sublime one day and substandard on the next. While there is no denying the talent in the side, there are far too many inconsistent performers in the ranks. Any team would be proud to have the likes of Inzamam, Akhtar, Saqlain, Razzaq and Sami in their ranks, but the lord alone knows how they will perform on a given day.

Right now, I would say India has a 60-40 chance.

Q. Many people are calling the series as a match-up between Indian batting and Pakistani bowling. Is it as simple as that?

A. Of course not! The ‘batting vs bowling’ hype is because most of India’s high profile players are batsmen (Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag , Ganguly) and Pakistan’s biggest stars are its bowlers (Akhtar, Sami and Saqlain). However, the chances are that the result will depend on how well the unpredictable Pakistani batting line-up performs. For all its promise, the side does not have any consistent performers. Inzamam and Youhana carry a massive burden on their shoulders. If they fire, India could have a tough time.

Q. In such a crucial series, the captains will have a vital role to play. How do they measure up?

A. Well, both Sourav Ganguly and Inzamam-ul-Haq made their international debuts in 1991-92. if at that time, you had predicted that they would be leading their teams against each other twelve years later, you would have been labelled a lunatic. And yet here they are doing just that. Cricket is a funny game (I intend to say that quite a few times).

Sourav Ganguly is a great captain when the team is winning, but turns into a sullen customer when things get rough. He also seems a bit insecure, given his tendency of quoting statistics in his support. He tends to favour certain players, but has a flair for unorthodox moves that can keep the opposition off balance. There is no arguing against his record and the team certainly seems to support him. He is confident, aggressive and, being one of the best batsmen in the ODI business, can lead by example.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, on the other hand, seems to be one of nature’s passive skippers. Mainly conservative and not inclined to take risks, he is more suited to the Test arena. Anyway, if the rumour mill is to be believed, most of the tactical input is going to come from Javed Miandad in the dressing room.

Q. Who are going to be the players to look out for?

A. I would keep an eye on the entire Indian batting line-up as well as all the Pakistani pace bowlers. If you are looking for tips on dark horses, keep an eye out for Yousuf Youhanna. He may not be as brilliant as Tendulkar or Inzamam, but collects his runs efficiently and even strikes the odd boundary from time to time. A vastly underrated batsman. There are no dark horses in the Indian side. Thanks to the media exposure every one in the Indian team has got star status. Ramesh Powar is one to look out for but I am not too sure he will get picked.

Q. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams?

A. Well, there are so many moody performers on either side that it is difficult to pinpoint specific strengths and weaknesses but here goes.

India:
Strengths
1. Awesome batting line-up.
2. Awesome batting line-up
3. (In case you haven’t got it yet) Awesome batting line-up

Weaknesses
Bowling is weak (they are calling Irfan Pathan and Balaji strike bowlers!)
Batting seems to be vulnerable on bouncy wickets.
Fielding and wicket-keeping remain problem areas.

Pakistan
Strengths:
Excellent and varied bowling attack
Lots of all rounders
Some very aggressive batsmen

Weaknesses:
Highly inconsistent performers
Poor fielding
Constant changing of squad has bred insecurity

Q. From the players to the playing surface itself. How are the pitches likely to play?

A. Most pitches in Pakistan are a batsman’s dream – grassless with not too much bounce. This is a bit surprising given Pakistan’s excellent bowling resources, but then cricket is a funny game. The Pakistan Cricket Board is saying that the pitches for this series are likely to have more bounce on them as they have been prepared with the aid of foreign experts, but well, I have my doubts. My prediction is that this is one series that is going to see lots of runs being scored.

Q. The first match is in Karachi. What is it going to be like?

A. Interesting, to say the least. Karachi is supposed to be the hub of Pakistan cricket but has not been allotted a Test Match this time because of ‘security’ concerns. The officials and the crowd are not likely to appreciate that!

Karachi has hosted more Test matches than any other venue in Pakistan. But while Pakistan have been virtually unbeatable in Tests at Karachi (they have lost just one out of 36 Tests), their one-day record at the venue is not too good. Of the 25 matches played at Karachi, the hosts have won 11 and lost 12.

India’s record at Karachi is quite good. They have played three times, winning once, losing once and holding the upper hand on the third occasion before spectator violence resulted in play being abandoned.

Both Sourav Ganguly and Shoaib Akhtar have happy memories of the ground. Ganguly’s 89 in 1997 remains the highest ODI score by an Indian at the venue while Akhtar’s 6-16 against New Zealand in 2002 is the best bowling recorded. Incidentally, the best bowling by an India was 3-5 by Manoj Prabhakar in 1989. Unfortunately, his bowling so annoyed the crowd that they disrupted the match with Pakistan reeling. The best batting by a Pakistani at the venue is Yousuf Youhana’s 125 against New Zealand in 2002. 

Q. Finally, how about some words of advice to the skippers about the toss and teams?

A. Well, the pitch has a reputation for not being particularly quick and aids spinners towards the end of play. If I won the toss here, I would bat first without hesitation.

It is difficult to say what kind of team to pick without having had a look at the pitch, but I do wish India would not ask Dravid to keep wicket. The ball is likely to keep low and he is going to struggle as he is not a specialist wicket-keeper. Pakistan would do well not to ask Afridi to open the innings as they have a regular opening pair and breaking it up would be daft.

 

Run Rain Continues As Pakistan Get On Level Terms

Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


Runs were once again seen in abundance as Pakistan and India played out another thriller in the second match of the one-day series at Rawalpindi. This time it was Pakistan's turn to come up trumps although the Indian team made a valiant attempt to get the 330 runs needed for victory. In many ways, this match was similar to the one at Karachi. The team batting first got a huge score although no one in it scored a century; the team batting second almost won the match thanks to a heroic century from its leading batsman (it was Inzamam at Karachi, Sachin at Rawalpindi).

'Thou shalt score at least 300 runs in a limited overs match' seems to be the rule being followed by both teams. If we thought that the run feast at Karachi was an aberration, Rawalpindi made us realise that colossal scores are going to be frequent in this series. Of course, spectators, batsmen and heart specialists will have no problems with this state of affairs, although one does feel for the poor bowlers.

Incidentally, did you know that India has never won consecutive matches in Pakistan? Whenever India has won a match in Pakistan, it has inevitably lost the next one. The trend continued in this match!

And before you go on to the scoreboard and highlights, here's something to chew on. Do you know who was India's most successful bowler in the recent VB Series in Australia? Well, it was Irfan Pathan whose aggregate of 16 wickets was the highest by any bowler in the series. One therefore wonders why Pathan has not played a single match in the ongoing series. He is fit and has been hailed by no less a person than Imran Khan as being one of the best young bowlers in the world today. Any idea why he is warming the dressing room seat instead of bowling out the Pakistanis? Share your thoughts with us at http://www.enableall.org/xbb_start.asp?Forumno=5&action=threadlist&chan=ENABDI or write in to nimish@enableall.org

 
The scoreboard:

Pakistan wilt in face of Indian blitzkrieg

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


India added to their tally of amazing run chases when they successfully overtook Pakistan's formidable 293-9 with five wickets and five overs to spare. The result levels the series at 2-2.

While Dravid and Kaif collected the accolades for seeing the team home with a record sixth wicket stand, it was the explosive strokeplay from the batsmen in the beginning of the innings that ensured that the asking rate would never go beyond a manageable limit. As for Pakistan, they seemed so shell-shocked by the hammering handed out to them by the Indian top order that they simply ran out of ideas towards the end.

Wrapping it up

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


The clocks in Lahore might have edging closer to the midnight hour on Wednesday night, but for Indian cricket it was high noon. This was India’s first ever ODI series victory in Pakistan. And it was neither fluky nor fixed - India had comprehensively outplayed its once-dominant neighbour in the final two matches of the series and more than matched it in the preceding ones.

Naturally the rosy glow of victory has led to a slew of over-the-top statements. Almost everyone has been hailing the ‘new’ India (conveniently forgetting that most of the squad have been around for years now), a few people have called this India’s greatest win since the 1983 World Cup, and some seem confident that the win signals a new era in cricket in which the Indian team will be a dominant force. In passing, it seems interesting how most experts seem to herald new eras only when their own teams look likely to dominate. But that is another matter to be discussed at another time!

India Vs Pakistan: A curtain raiser

Nimish Dubey

(With the India-Pakistan cricket series all set to start, Nimish Dubey, our resident cricket pundit, was feeling a bit lonely – none of the television channels had asked him for his comments – and decided to have a conversation with himself. If you feel like asking him a question or two feel free to drop him an e-mail at nimish@enableall.org.)

Q. So the series is going ahead after all. What is so special about India-Pakistan encounters? I mean, both sides are calling it just another series and nothing special…

A. If this is just another series, then the Oscars are just another award!

Look, there are rivalries and rivalries, and then there is India vs Pakistan. Mind you, I am talking only of the one-day international (ODI) matches between the two nations. The Test matches between them have generally put even insomniacs to sleep, but the shorter version of the game has been a different story altogether. From India bowling out Pakistan for under three figures after themselves being dismissed for 126 and Javed Miandad’s epic six to win the AustralAsia Cup off the final ball, to Kanitkar’s winning boundary in a record run chase in the Dhaka twilight and Tendulkar’s vicious assault on Shoaib Akhtar in the recent World Cup…there are memorable moments and cliff-hangers by the dozen when the teams involved are India and Pakistan.

Add that thrilling history to the fact that India last played an ODI series in Pakistan seven years ago and you get the picture.

Q. Sourav Ganguly says that the team is under no pressure. How tough is it going to be playing in Pakistan?

A. Well, you can hardly expect him to say that India are shaking with fear! As for difficulty, India have NEVER won a one-day series (or a Test Match) in Pakistan. What more can one say? The crowds are notoriously partisan (you will be able to hear a pin drop when an Indian batsman hits a boundary) and noisy, and the high security arrangements are likely to affect the Indian team more than the hosts. Pakistan definitely will be the more comfortable of the two sides going into the series.

Q. The big question: who is likely to win?

A.  I have no crystal ball handy, but on paper and on recent form, Sourav Ganguly’s team seems to hold the edge. After all, they made the final of the 2003 World Cup, the ICC Trophy, and the recent VB Series. And then there is the awesome batting form of the likes of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Ganguly himself, Dravid and Laxman to be reckoned with. The bowling and fielding still seems shockingly inadequate, but then one-day cricket is supposed to be a batsman’s game and India definitely seem to be one-up on their rivals here.

Pakistan for their part seem to be one of the most unpredictable sides in world cricket, sublime one day and substandard on the next. While there is no denying the talent in the side, there are far too many inconsistent performers in the ranks. Any team would be proud to have the likes of Inzamam, Akhtar, Saqlain, Razzaq and Sami in their ranks, but the lord alone knows how they will perform on a given day.

Right now, I would say India has a 60-40 chance.

Q. Many people are calling the series as a match-up between Indian batting and Pakistani bowling. Is it as simple as that?

A. Of course not! The ‘batting vs bowling’ hype is because most of India’s high profile players are batsmen (Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag , Ganguly) and Pakistan’s biggest stars are its bowlers (Akhtar, Sami and Saqlain). However, the chances are that the result will depend on how well the unpredictable Pakistani batting line-up performs. For all its promise, the side does not have any consistent performers. Inzamam and Youhana carry a massive burden on their shoulders. If they fire, India could have a tough time.

Q. In such a crucial series, the captains will have a vital role to play. How do they measure up?

A. Well, both Sourav Ganguly and Inzamam-ul-Haq made their international debuts in 1991-92. if at that time, you had predicted that they would be leading their teams against each other twelve years later, you would have been labelled a lunatic. And yet here they are doing just that. Cricket is a funny game (I intend to say that quite a few times).

Sourav Ganguly is a great captain when the team is winning, but turns into a sullen customer when things get rough. He also seems a bit insecure, given his tendency of quoting statistics in his support. He tends to favour certain players, but has a flair for unorthodox moves that can keep the opposition off balance. There is no arguing against his record and the team certainly seems to support him. He is confident, aggressive and, being one of the best batsmen in the ODI business, can lead by example.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, on the other hand, seems to be one of nature’s passive skippers. Mainly conservative and not inclined to take risks, he is more suited to the Test arena. Anyway, if the rumour mill is to be believed, most of the tactical input is going to come from Javed Miandad in the dressing room.

Q. Who are going to be the players to look out for?

A. I would keep an eye on the entire Indian batting line-up as well as all the Pakistani pace bowlers. If you are looking for tips on dark horses, keep an eye out for Yousuf Youhanna. He may not be as brilliant as Tendulkar or Inzamam, but collects his runs efficiently and even strikes the odd boundary from time to time. A vastly underrated batsman. There are no dark horses in the Indian side. Thanks to the media exposure every one in the Indian team has got star status. Ramesh Powar is one to look out for but I am not too sure he will get picked.

Q. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams?

A. Well, there are so many moody performers on either side that it is difficult to pinpoint specific strengths and weaknesses but here goes.

India:
Strengths
1. Awesome batting line-up.
2. Awesome batting line-up
3. (In case you haven’t got it yet) Awesome batting line-up

Weaknesses
Bowling is weak (they are calling Irfan Pathan and Balaji strike bowlers!)
Batting seems to be vulnerable on bouncy wickets.
Fielding and wicket-keeping remain problem areas.

Pakistan
Strengths:
Excellent and varied bowling attack
Lots of all rounders
Some very aggressive batsmen

Weaknesses:
Highly inconsistent performers
Poor fielding
Constant changing of squad has bred insecurity

Q. From the players to the playing surface itself. How are the pitches likely to play?

A. Most pitches in Pakistan are a batsman’s dream – grassless with not too much bounce. This is a bit surprising given Pakistan’s excellent bowling resources, but then cricket is a funny game. The Pakistan Cricket Board is saying that the pitches for this series are likely to have more bounce on them as they have been prepared with the aid of foreign experts, but well, I have my doubts. My prediction is that this is one series that is going to see lots of runs being scored.

Q. The first match is in Karachi. What is it going to be like?

A. Interesting, to say the least. Karachi is supposed to be the hub of Pakistan cricket but has not been allotted a Test Match this time because of ‘security’ concerns. The officials and the crowd are not likely to appreciate that!

Karachi has hosted more Test matches than any other venue in Pakistan. But while Pakistan have been virtually unbeatable in Tests at Karachi (they have lost just one out of 36 Tests), their one-day record at the venue is not too good. Of the 25 matches played at Karachi, the hosts have won 11 and lost 12.

India’s record at Karachi is quite good. They have played three times, winning once, losing once and holding the upper hand on the third occasion before spectator violence resulted in play being abandoned.

Both Sourav Ganguly and Shoaib Akhtar have happy memories of the ground. Ganguly’s 89 in 1997 remains the highest ODI score by an Indian at the venue while Akhtar’s 6-16 against New Zealand in 2002 is the best bowling recorded. Incidentally, the best bowling by an India was 3-5 by Manoj Prabhakar in 1989. Unfortunately, his bowling so annoyed the crowd that they disrupted the match with Pakistan reeling. The best batting by a Pakistani at the venue is Yousuf Youhana’s 125 against New Zealand in 2002. 

Q. Finally, how about some words of advice to the skippers about the toss and teams?

A. Well, the pitch has a reputation for not being particularly quick and aids spinners towards the end of play. If I won the toss here, I would bat first without hesitation.

It is difficult to say what kind of team to pick without having had a look at the pitch, but I do wish India would not ask Dravid to keep wicket. The ball is likely to keep low and he is going to struggle as he is not a specialist wicket-keeper. Pakistan would do well not to ask Afridi to open the innings as they have a regular opening pair and breaking it up would be daft.

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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)

Two-all or Game and Series, Pakistan

By Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


As I mentioned in my curtain raiser to the series, cricket is a funny game. Before the ODI series got underway, everyone was talking about how this was India's best chance to defeat Pakistan. Three matches into the series, it is India who have their backs to the wall.  The hosts need to win just one of the two remaining matches to wrap up the series. India on the other hand have to do something they have never managed before - chalk up consecutive ODI wins on Pakistani soil.

Lead up for grabs at Peshawar

Nimish Dubey
(nimish@enableall.org)


One thing you can say about the ongoing series is that it has dispelled any notions that this was going to be a battle between bat and ball. Going by the two matches played so far, the ball really has not come into the picture. For reasons best known to the hosts, the pitches prepared so far have been absolutely perfect for batting and a bowler’s nightmare. The bat has dominated to a ridiculous extent with India’s 317 in the second match being the lowest score of the series so far. Add to that the fact that no bowler has come close to taking four wickets in an innings or even conceding less than four runs an over and you get the picture.

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