India 167 (Dhoni 36, Ajmal 5-24) beat
Pakistan 157 (Sharma 3-36) by 10 runs
Third One-Day International, Delhi
India emerged triumphant in the third One-Day International against Pakistan despite another dismal batting performance, this time in a chilly Delhi. Their total of 167 proved just enough to avoid the series whitewash as Pakistan too struggled with the bat and were all out for just 157.
Pakistan’s seamers had again caused India’s top-order problems, while Saeed Ajmal polished off the middle and lower-order to end with five for 24.
India then surprised everyone and put in a fielding display that was several notches above their usual standard, as well as a seam bowling performance that was both disciplined and incisive. Their two young opening bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed, bowled intelligently, while Ishant Sharma proved an effective first change.
It was Kumar who did the initial damage, having Kamran Akmal leg-before to an inswinger and Younis Khan bowled via the inside edge. That made it 14 for two in the seventh over, but Nasir Jamshed and Misbah-ul-Haq steadied the ship with a third-wicket partnership worth 47.
They had just about got Pakistan’s run chase back on track when R Ashwin had Jamshed trapped in front on the sweep. Misbah hung around for a little while longer, but his dismissal to Ashwin with the score on 113 brought about a steady trickle of wickets which did not relent until Pakistan’s 10th had fallen at 157.
Ishant Sharma removed Shoaib Malik and Umar Gul, as well as ending the match by having Mohammad Hafeez caught at mid-wicket. Ravindra Jadeja, meanwhile, delivered an accurate spell of left-arm spin, which went for just 19 runs and yielded the wicket of Umar Akmal, who was preferred in Pakistan’s line-up today to Azhar Ali.
In all, Pakistan’s last seven wickets fell for the addition of only 44 runs to give India something to cheer at last.
It hadn’t looked as if they would be the victorious team at the halfway point, however. Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan each bowled economical and threatening seven over opening spells, which claimed three India wickets at a cost of 43 runs. Both men found enough movement off the pitch to have Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli all caught behind the wicket.
Mohammad Hafeez then ended Yuvraj Singh’s entertaining 23-ball stay with a ball that turned past the outside edge and hit his off-stump, while Suresh Raina and Ashwin fell to consecutive Saeed Ajmal deliveries. MS Dhoni did his best and hit three sixes during his 36 off 55 balls, but he was seventh man out with the score on 131 and the end of the innings followed soon afterwards.
© Cricket World 2013
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