Friday , October 31 2014
Afridi pulls off stunning heist | India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2014

Afridi pulls off stunning heist | India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2014

India 245 for 8 (Rayudu 58, Rohit 56, Jadeja 52*, Ajmal 3-40)
Pakistan 249 for 9 (Hafeez 75, Shehzad 42, Afridi 34*, Ashwin 3-44)
Man of the match: Mohammad Hafeez

Shahid Afridi led Pakistan to one wicket victory in a last over thriller that saw them go to the top of the point table in Arise Asia Cup 2014. The iconic India-Pakistan clash was given a finish deserving of its profile, as Pakistan chased India’s 245 down with two balls remaining. The foundation of the historic win was laid by a stunning 87-run stand for the fifth wicket between Mohammad Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood that lifted Pakistan from 113 for 4 to 200.

Pakistan had a flying start to their innings, thanks to their openers who took charges very early with their bat putting 67 runs in the board together in the first powerplay of 10 overs. Their partnership broke in the 11th over when Ashwin bowled Sharjeel with his special carrom ball that sneaked through batsman’s bat and pad leaving Pakistan at 71.

Shehzad, Misbah and Akmal were followed by him soon after which left Pakistan at a vulnerable position of 113 for 4. Mohammad Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood repaired the damage with their intelligent batting which saw Hafeez scoring a very sensible knock of 75 from 117 deliveries.

Pakistan were in trouble once again after both the set batsmen departed in a quick succession which left the fate of the match in Afridi’s hand. Afridi proceeded to bat cautiously with Umar Gul and took the match in a scenario where 11 were required off the last 10 balls, and four wickets still in hand, Pakistan appeared to be cruising home. Then, three wickets fell in five balls.

It was down to nine off four when Afridi took strike in the final over. His two massive but close hit ensured the match for Pakistan and took a firm step towards final unless a miracle happens in the next few days.

Earlier, India had put together a reasonable total of 245 in 50 overs losing 8 wickets. Pakistan seamer Mohammad Talha struck the most deadly blows in the intense Asia Cup clash, leaving India in at 113 for 4 in 25 overs, despite a sparkling half-century from Rohit Sharma. Later on, fifties from Rayudu and Jadeja took India close to 250. Saeed Ajmal picked up 3 wickets for Pakistan while Hafeez and Talha bagged two each.

Jadeja’s well delivered 52 from 49 balls was the most vital part of India’s innings after the departure of Karthik (23) who was caught at short fine leg by Azmal. Jadeja added 59 runs with Rayudu in the 6th wicket partnership and 23 with Ashwin in 7th.

Rayudu scored 58 from 62 deliveries before he mistimed a doosra from Ajmal and gave an easy catch at long on.

Ajmal’s doosra also misled Ashwin as he was stumped attempting to slog one over mid wicket. Shami also returned to the dressing room in the same over attempting a big hit and ended up in Maqsood’s hand.

Rahane was caught after scoring 23 from 50 deliveries at mid-wicket when trying to move across the stumps and generate a stroke. Before that, Hafeez took a blinder at mid-wicket after Rohit Sharma tried to pull a short pitched delivery from Talha to reward him with his maiden ODI wicket. Rohit Sharma scored 56 off 58 deliveries with 7 boundaries and two over boundaries in his name.

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Mohammad Hafeez surprised Shikhar Dhawan with his spin taking the new ball from one end and trapped the opener lbw in the third over of their innings. Sharma and Kohli added 38 runs in the second wicket before Kohli was caught behind the wicket trying to guide a shortish ball from Umar Gul towards third man and ended up with a fine edge leaving his team at 56.

After a comfortable 72 runs win against Afghanistan, Pakistan managed to snatch a valuable bonus point and currently standing at first position in the table.

Sunviraj Rifat
tigercricket correspondent