India eliminate Pakistan in a thriller
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, SK Raina, Harbhajan Singh, MS Dhoni, G Gambhir
Event:Asia Cup 2010

DateLine: 19th June 2010


One of the most anticipated match of the tournament lived upto its billing as India and Pakistan were involved in another match that would be remembered as a classic. The match went right down to the wire as the game oscillated to and fro furiously. At no stage could a team claim that they held the upper hand of Test and at each passing moment the pressure grew to unimaginable propositions. The last time the two sides played, Pakistan beat India in the 2009 Champions Trophy in South Africa.


Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to bat first. Opener Salman Butt top-scored with 74 and Kamran Akmal hit 51 off 41 balls as Pakistan made 267. Butt gave his team a fine start and Akmal provided the fireworks towards the end. Pakistan's innings wavered midway after a sizzling start by Butt, who put on 71 for the first wicket with Imran Farhat and 73 for the second with former captain Shoaib Malik.


Pakistan were sitting comfortably at 144-1 in the 29th over when three wickets fell for the addition of 15 runs. Malik was bowled by Zaheer Khan, Butt was run out by a smart throw from Ravindra Jadeja and Umar Amin was caught brilliantly in the slips by Virat Kohli off Harbhajan Singh. Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi made a quickfire 32 but it was charmed life for the Pakistani skipper. Kamran Akmal ensured Pakistan posted a competitive total with a sparkling knock that contained three sixes and two boundaries.


Indian in reply got off to a steady start as Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag put on 41 in 10.2 overs. Sehwag literally struggled with an injury that looked like a hip injury. Razzaq finally ended his misery as he forced the right-hander to edge behind. Virat Kohli did nothing of note and once he was dismissed the innings looked slightly shaky. MS Dhoni then joined ranks with Gautam GAmbhir and the duo steadied the innings with a 98 run partnership.


When they were at the crease the Indians seemed to be cruising to the target but the disaster struck for India. Gambhir was cleaned up by Saeed Ajmal while Afridi sparked a revival of sorts when he trapped Rohit Sharma leg before. Dhoni managed to get a fifty but he was bowled by round the legs by Shoaib Malik and thaht set the contest on the knife's edge.


Ravindra Jadeja was cleaned up and the Suresh Raina took control of the match with some lusty hitting. The southpaw hammered a couple of huge sixes of Shoaib Akthar and Saeed Ajmal to set the balance in India's favour and just when it seemed that India was in sight of a famous win another twist awaited. Suresh Raina in desperation of retaining the strike got run-out and the Pakistani side were justified to feel that the match was set in their favour. But Harbhajan Singh being the fighter that he is kept his cool and then when the opportunity presented itself to him settled the match in India's favour.