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Pakistan level series at 'Pindi


By Gambit
March 16 2004

The 2nd match of the India-Pakistan ODI series turned out to be as close as the 1st one at Karachi. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Recalled opener Shahih Afridi got stuck into the Indian bowling and took them to pieces, especially Zaheer Khan of whom he hit 37 runs from 20 balls faced.

Yasir Hameed gave good support to Afridi with a handy 86.

There was a stutter in the middle order, but the late order propelled Pakistan past 300. Abdul Razzaq, who is fast turning out to be India's bete noire, smashed 31 off only 18 balls as Pakistan posted a huge 329 in their 50 overs.

Ashish Nehra was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 3 for 44 in 10 overs.

The Indian run chase began well and Virender Sehwag was looking in ominous form. His innings was cut short by a gem of a delivery from Shoaib AKhtar which sent the Indian's off stump cart wheeling. Next to go was VVS Laxman lbw to Sami.

The Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly, was not in the best of form and was lucky to survive as Akhtar spilled an easy catch offered by Ganguly. Ganguly scratched around for 38 balls and scored only 15 when he was stumped off Afridi.

While the wickets at the other end were tumbling, the little master, Sachin Tendulkar was holding his own. He was playing a calculated knock and went past 50 and 13000 international runs when Dravid come to join him at the crease.

These two had a century stand with Tendulkar contributing nearly 80% of those runs. He brought up his 100 with a single off Shoaib and continued to dominate the Pakistani bowling until he holed out in the deep off Malik at a stage when India required 80 odd runs in 12 overs.

Rest of the Indian batsmen came and went, and Pakistan looked set for an easy victory. Visions of that victory were setback by cavalier batting from Balaji and Powar who added 30 runs in just 2 overs.

When Sami came to bowl the 49th over, India required 16 with 2 wickets in hand. Balaji was needlessly run out on the first ball and Sami then wrapped up the match with a yorker to finish Nehra.

Sami was the most impressive Pakistani bowler on display as he took 3 or 41.

With the series levelled 1-1, both team would be looking to take that crucial lead in the 3rd ODI which is to be played at Peshawar on the 19th.

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