Rohit dazzles in Indian win

Gambhir provides support as Pakistan crash to 9-wicket defeat

Rohit dazzles in Indian win

Chasing a victory target of 159, India sailed home in 17 overs, losing just one wicket along the way.

Sharma smashed 80 off just 53 balls, including nine fours and two sixes, to lead the Indian chase.

Gautam Gambhir offered solid support with an unbeaten  52 while captain M S Dhoni remained not out on 9.

Earlier, Pakistan got off to a flier but India’s disciplined bowling unit staged a fine comeback to restrict them to 158 for six.

Despite losing an early wicket, Pakistan cruised to 45 in just over four overs before losing three wickets without a single run added to the score. However, cameos from Ahmed Shehzad (25), Younis Khan (32), Misbah-ul Haq (37 not out) and Yasir Arafat (25 not out) ensured they crossed the 150-mark.

After winning toss, Pakistan captain Younis Khan sent out teen twins Shahzaib Hasan and Ahmed Shehzad to open the innings but Hasan was back in the hut soon after Praveen Kumar’s fifth legitimate delivery pegged back his off-stump.

Shehzad’s too could have been a brief stay but Harbhajan Singh grassed a sitter at mid-wicket off RP Singh when the batsman was on five and India were made to pay for the miss. Shehzad shed all inhibitions and went after the Indian bowlers and suddenly it was raining boundaries at The Oval.

RP Singh copped two in the same over and Praveen didn’t escape unscathed either as Shehzad pulled and drove with elan. Shehzad’s aggression proved contagious as Kamran Akmal (19) too started freeing his arms to good effect.

It was probably too good to last and Pakistan lost three wickets over five balls with Suresh Raina in the thick of action. An airborne Raina first  ran out Akmal and then placed himself under Shehzad’s miscued skier in the same Ishant Sharma over.

Shahid Afridi’s was a blink-and-miss stay as the swashbuckling right-hander bottom edged Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni took a diving catch to remove him for a golden duck. Shoaib Malik (14) started well before Pragyan Ojha snared the former captain in his first over. Younis and Misbah raised 50 runs in 7.3 overs but boundaries had dried up by then. Harbhajan got rid off Younis but Misbah and Arafat threw their bat at everything to push the score past the 150-mark.

Score board:

Pakistan: Shehzad c Raina b Ishant 25; Hasan b Praveen 0; Akmal (run out) 19; Afridi c Dhoni b Irfan 0; Younis st Dhoni  b Harbhajan 32; Malik c Dhoni b Ojha 14; Misbah (not out) 37; Arafat (not out) 25. Extras (LB-2, W-4) 6. Total (For 6 wickets in 20 overs) 158.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-45, 3-45, 4-45, 5-63, 6-113.
Bowling: Praveen 3-0-32-1; RP Singh 3-0-33-0; Irfan 2-0-18-1; Ishant 3-1-11-1; Harbhajan 4-0-27-1; Ojha 3-0-18-1; Yuvraj 2-0-17-0.
India: Gambhir (not out) 52; Rohit c Shehzad b Aamer 80; Dhoni (not out) 9. Extras (LB 7, W9, NB 2) 18. Total (for one wicket in 17 overs) 159.
Fall of wicket: 1-140.
Bowling: Gul 3-0-39-0; Arafat 3-0-25-0; Aamer 3-0-18-1; Ajmal 2-0-16-0; Afridi 2-0-23-0;  Tanvir 2-0-13-0; Malik 2-0-18-0.

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