Afridi Completes Thrilling Win For Pakistan
Pakistan 249-9 (Mohammad Hafeez 75) beat
India 245-8 (Sharma 56) by one wicket
Asia Cup game six, Mirpur
Shahid Afridi hit the third and fourth balls of the final over for sixes as Pakistan scored a dramatic one-wicket win over India in game six of the Asia Cup in Mirpur.
Needing 90 to win in 90 balls after being set a target of 246, Pakistan looked to be struggling when they needed 43 from the final five overs.
However, despite losing partners at the other end, Afridi emerged as the hero for Pakistan by hitting 34 not out in 18 balls, including vital maximums off Ravichandran Ashwin, who had been entrusted with the final over.
Mohammad Hafeez had earlier struck 75 to help Pakistan recover from 96 for three and get their run chase on track.
Ambati Rayudu (58), Rohit Sharma (56) and Ravindra Jadeja (52 not out) all struck half-centuries to help India close on 245 for eight after Pakistan won the toss and chose to field first.
Having decided to bowl first, Pakistan struck early as Hafeez trapped Shikhar Dhawan in front for 10 and Umar Gul had Virat Kohli caught behind by Umar Akmal for five.
Sharma, however, stood firm and scored 56 in 58 balls with seven fours and two sixes before falling in the 20th over, caught by Hafeez off Mohammad Talha.
Soon after, India lost their fourth wicket when Ajinkya Rahane was also smartly caught by Hafeez at mid-wicket off Talha for 23.
Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik (23) then put on 52 together until Karthik was caught by Saeed Ajmal off Hafeez, who was becoming integral to everything Pakistan were doing.
After Jadeja looked to have received a huge stroke of luck to not be given out leg before early in his innings, he proceeded to to hit four fours and two sixes, almost taking India to the 250-run mark after Rayudu was caught in the deep by substitute Anwar Ali off Ajmal in the deep.
Jadeja was unbeaten while Ashwin (9) and Mohammad Shami (0) also late on to Ajmal who finished with three for 40.
Hafeez returned two for 38, the impressive Talha two for 22 and Umar Gul one for 60.
Pakistan then got off to a flyer as their openers, Sharjeel Khan (25 in 30 balls) and Ahmed Shehzad (42 in 44) did not allow India's bowlers to settle.
Their aggression forced Kohli to turn to his spinners and it worked. Ashwin bowled Sharjeel with one that turned away from him, Shehzad pulled an Amit Mishra long hop to Ashwin at mid-wicket and Misbah-ul-Haq (1) was run out by Jadeja and Mishra going for a run that was never on.
From 71 without loss, Pakistan had slipped to 96 for three and found themselves in a similar position to the one India had been in.
Mishra struck again to have Akmal (4) caught by Jadeja in the covers as he played a poor shot before Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood (38) put on 87 together for the fifth wicket.
The runs did not come particularly quickly, but by the time that Hafeez (75 in 117 balls) and Maqsood (38 in 53) fell within seven balls of each other to leave the score 203 for six, Pakistan were still in with a decent chance.
Hafeez fell to a miscued sweep off Ashwin and Maqsood, like Misbah, perished to a run out as he tried to take a non-existent single.
Afridi and Umar Gul (12 in 12 balls) then took the score to 235, Gul smacking Bhuvneshwar Kumar for six as Pakistan took 13 runs each from the 46th and 47th over.
More twists were to come though as Rahane took a brilliant catch to dismiss Gul with nine balls remaining.
Three balls later, Talha was caught by Jadeja at long-on as he also tried to take Bhuvneshwar Kumar on, but as the batsmen had crossed under the catch, Afridi was off strike for the start of the final over, needing 10 to win.
And when Ashwin bowled Ajmal round his legs, it looked as if India were about to stall Pakistan's late charge, only for Junaid Khan and Afridi to hit back decisively.
Junaid did what he had to do by getting Afridi back on strike for the final four balls of the game, of which only two were needed.
The first, the third of the over, was slammed over long-on and the second, the fourth ball of the over, went the same way. Such is Afridi's power, that the strikes were mis-hits, but Pakistan weren't complaining.
He finished on 34 not out in 18 balls with two fours and three sixes.
The result leaves India struggling to reach the final having lost two of their first three matches and they play Afghanistan in their final game on 5th March.
Pakistan's last group game will be against Bangladesh on 4th March.
© Cricket World 2014
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