A brilliant batting display by Shoaib Malik (128 runs of 126 balls) and Mohammad Yusuf (87 runs of 88 balls) ensured that Pakistan will not slip another game against India at major ICC events by putting on a record 206 runs for the fourth wicket and helping Pakistan to post a very comparative total of 302/9 to chase for the Indians.
Their bowlers especially spinners bowled far-far better than the Indian to ensure that Indians didn’t cross the line. Pakistan spinners bowled 22 overs in between them and conceded just 95 run and picked up four crucial wickets in the middle overs. In comparison Indian spinners conceded 127 runs in 20 overs and picked up two wickets and that to at the later part of Pakistan innings and I think that sums up the game.
One of the days where Indian bowlers hammered all around the park except Ashish Nehra who bowled exceptionally well and in the end manage to return with the impressive figure of 4/55.
Rest Indian bowlers either bowled short or full to give away too many easy runs for the Pakistan, at one stage they were scrumbling at 65/3 in the 15th over but Indian spinners didn’t capitalize on the start given by Nehra and allowed Malik and Yusuf to build a match winning partnership and in the end they manage to score 135 runs in the last 15 overs of the game.
Indian chase begin quite dramatically, the man (Sachin Tendulkar) from whom millions of fans expected to score at least half-century in such crisis situation departed early and that too by the young sensation of Pakistan Md. Aamer.
However a brilliant batting by Gautam Gambhir (57 runs of 46 balls), R.Dravid (76 runs of 103 balls) and Suresh Raina (46 runs of 41 balls) kept India in hunt till the 40th over of the game. But all the batsman where unlucky to got out. First Gambhir was brilliantly run out by Pakistan Captain direct throw and then Raina who looks all set to take the game away from Pakistan was given lbw out by Steve Davis. Later the hope of India became the second run out victim of Indian innings to end the hope as well as game for India.
Harbhajan Singh would wish this day had never happened: he failed to cover for a low-on-confidence pace attack, giving away 71 runs for one wicket, and then ran Rahul Dravid out in what was the final turning point of the match. A valiant Dravid had kept the chase alive, and despite a regular fall of wickets India needed 67 runs in 49 balls when Dravid was called for a non-existent third and was sent back.
Shoaib Malik was declared Player of the Match for his brilliant century under pressure of 128 runs of 126 balls.
Match Summary (Pakistan won by 54 Runs)
Pakistan– 302/9 in 50 Overs
S.Malik- 128Md.Yusuf– 87
A.Nehra– 10-0-55-4 I.Sharma- 8-2-39-2
India – 248/10 in 44.5 Overs
R.Dravid- 76 G.Gambhir– 57
Saeed Ajmal– 8.5-0-31-2Shahid Afridi- 10-0-39-2
India v Pakistan Champions Trophy Highlights
Australia beat West Indies by 50 Runs
In other game played at Johannesburg, Australia nearly survived West Indies scare but finally a better team came out as winner by 50 runs. At one stage Australia were tattering at 176/7 in the 41st over but thanks to Mitchel Johnson maiden half-century of 73 runs from just 47 balls helped Australia to pile up 275/8 in their 50 overs.
West Indies started their run chase well and they were in the hunt till 42nd over thanks to half-century from A.Fletcher (54 runs of 77 balls) and T.Dowlin (55 runs of 87 balls) but in the end Watson and Siddle lead Australia to a comfortable win by 50 runs.
Now they will take India in their next game at Centurion on Monday which will be another cracking of encounter.