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Monday, September 20, 2004

Cricket: India v. Pakistan match.

Catgegory: Misc.

ICC Champions Trophy India v. Pakistan 19th Sept. 2004
Edgbaston, Birmingham, England.

Pakistan beat India by three wickets to enter the semi-finals. They will play against West Indies in the semis.

How the match unfolded.

An India v. Pakistan encounter is always exciting, and so it was with yesterday's match.

Inzamam won the toss and put India in to bat.
Saurav was out in the first over. Laxman played a horrible shot to a short-pitched ball on the leg stump and gave a catch straight to square-leg. Sehwag, going to a rough patch, couldn't last long and India were three down with less than thirty on
the scoreboard.

Rahul Dravid and Mohammed Kaif steadied the innings. Kaif was out, caught in the deep. Rohan Gavaskar gave Rahul Dravid support for some time, but didn't last long. It was left to Rahul Dravid and Ajit Agarkar to take India to a score of 200,
which was a fighting total.

Pakistan were rocked by Irfan's swing. India v. Pakistan matches follow a predictable pattern. If one team flounders, the other too follows. Irfan Pathan took three quick wickets , that of the two openers, Imran Farhat and Yaseer Hammed and Shoaib Malik, the dangerman versus India was taken by Irfan, caught at deep fineleg, after a lot of juggling, by Ashish Nehra.

Inzamam and Yousuf Youhana steadied the innings. Pakistan was going strong at 100 for three when Inzy was caught behind off the bowling of Agarkar. Razzaq didn't last long and was bowled, playing on to an offspinner from Sehwag.

Moin came and started on with a flurry of singles, as is his style. Yousuf Youhana, at the other end was playing a sensible innings, taking the singles, rotating the strike and running hard to convert the singles to twos with Moin. Yousuf looked in
some pain and was down with cramps. Moin was pushing him hard. A wicket was what India wanted at that time and that's what they got, when Yuvraj pulled off a blinder, a football goalkeeper style catch at short-point of the bowling of Nehra and Moin was back in the pavilion.

In came Shahid Afridi. Afridi is one player who can change a match anytime, batting at any position. For Shahid Afridi, each ball is to be sent over the ropes for a six. The only word in Afridi's dictionary for batting is smAshing the ball out of the ground. Afridi started off with a couple of singles. The match changed when Irfan Pathan came back for his second spell with Afridi on strike. Irfan had great bowling figures of seven over for twenty odd runs and three top wickets.

Shahid Afridi facing Irfan Pathan. The first ball, Irfan bowled a slighty short of a length ball on the middle and leg stump, Afridi rocked back and with a high, flourishing back-lift smashed the ball over the deep square-leg fence, into the stands, off she (the ball) goes for a huge six. The first ball from Irfan's new spell, smashed over square-leg for six. The next ball by Irfan was pitched of good length, pitched on the middle stump, Shahid Afridi, took a step forward, picked the line of the ball, and with a flourishing swing, sent the ball soaring over the deep long-on fence for another six. What a fantastic shot! Too good! In two balls, Afridi had changed the game. Pakistan were 170 odd with four wickets remaining and only 30 more to get, to win the match.

The next over from Irfan to Afridi was interesting. Afridi hit a ball high up in the air. The trajectory of the shot made it fall just inside the ropes, or else it would have been one more six, Afridi didn't even run, thinking it would be a six, then stauntered for two runs. Another ball in the same over was dispatched to the mid-wicket fence for a boundary. Afridi had scored 25 runs in only twelve balls and had turned the match in Pakistan's favour.

As is Afridi's style, a ball has to be hit, it cannot be played on the ground, he tried to hit a ball from Yuvraj out of the ground. Irfan being a fast bowler, the ball came on faster and was easier to hit, in Yuvraj's case, the ball slowed down and went to the long-on boundary for a simple catch. Afridi went for a quick 25 off 12 balls. By that time, Pakistan was within reach of the target and they won with three wickets to spare.

Yousuf Youhana was declared the man of the match for his unbeaten eight-one runs.

Pakistan plays West Indies on the 22nd and Australia takes on England on the 21st, in the semi-finals.