Saturday 14 June 2008 

Butt And Younus Centuries Enough As Pakistan Hold On

Pakistan beat India by 25 runs in an entertaining Kitply Cup final in Mirpur, Salman Butt and Younus Khan scoring centuries for Pakistan before half-centuries from Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni weren't enough to get India over the line.

Pakistan posted 315 for three with Salman retiring on 129 and Younus hitting 108 before bowling their arch-rivals out for 290 in the penultimate over of the match, Dhoni the last man to fall for 62 as Umar Gul took four for 42.

Pakistan took full advantage of winning the toss, but lost Kamran Akmal (15) early when he was caught behind by Dhoni off of Irfan Pathan in the tenth over. The Indians would not get another breakthrough until the 42nd as Salman and Younus added 205 for the second wicket.

Dhoni used no fewer than eight bowlers in the search for a wicket, as both batsmen hit three sixes, Salman also hitting 12 fours to Younus's eight. Salman took 121 balls to get to his century, Younus just 92 - both are men who excel against India and Salman is in the form of his life at the moment.

Younus was eventually dismissed when he was caught by Virender Sehwag off of Ishant Sharma for 108 before Salman had to retire hurt on 129.

Misbah-ul-Haq (33) was the other wicket to fall, caught by Rohit Sharma off of Irfan Patan leaving Shahid Afridi unbeaten on ten and captain Shoaib Malik on 11.

Irfan Pathan returned figures of two for 59, Ishant Sharma one for 57 with Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Sehwag, Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina also turning their arms over.

Only Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma were not invited to bowl.

India's reply got off to the worst possible start for them when Sehwag was caught by Shoaib Malik off of Sohail Tanvir for two.

While Gambhir, centurion against Bangladesh remained at the crease, India remained hopeful but he was the the third man to fall after Rohit Sharma had been caught by Nasir Jamshed, on the field in place of Salman off of Gul for 24.

Gambhir was out for 40 from 33 balls.

Yusuf Pathan was promoted to try and blast some quick runs but he managed 25 before Iftikhar Anjum had him caught by Younus before a half-century stand between Yuvraj (56) and Raina (24) once again reignited Indian hopes.

Yuvraj struck five fours and a six as the pair added 73 before Raina was caught by Shahid Afridi off of Fawad Alam and two overs later Yuvraj was also gone, caught behind off of Afridi.

That left Dhoni with the lower order, and although he added 60 with Irfan Pathan (28), he was unable to score at the required rate, leaving his final assault too late as wickets fell.

Needing 32 to win from the last two overs, he smashed Afridi's first delivery for a six, but perished from the second, Nasir Jamshed taking his third catch of the innings to seal a fine turnaround for a Pakistan side.

India beat Pakistan by a record 140 runs in their group game four days ago.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2008

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