India 192-5 (Yuvraj 72) beat
Pakistan 181-7 (Dinda 3-36) by 11 runs
Second Twenty20 International, Ahmedabad
Report by Chetan Narula
India pulled one back against Pakistan in the second, and final, T20 International at Ahmedabad. Yuvraj Singh’s career best T20I knock of 72 runs and later on Ashok Dinda’s spell at the death helped seal an 11-run victory at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera.
India got a huge breakthrough when pacer Ashok Dinda dismissed Umar Akmal to break a 62-run third wicket stand. Skipper Mohammad Hafeez had led from the front as he smashed 23-ball fifty, smacking five fours and three sixes.
Indian spinners R Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh had earlier removed Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad respectively to give Pakistan a double jolt in quick succession after the pair had started off well, adding a 74-run stand for the first-wicket to lay the foundations for Pakistan.
Pakistan won the toss again and put India in, despite the match starting early and reducing the possibility of dew affecting the game. While the visitors were unchanged, India brought in R Ashwin in place of Ravindra Jadeja for this must-win game. The openers again provided a great start, putting up 44 runs in the first five over, playing shots all round the park. But neither Gautam Gambhir (21) nor Ajinkya Rahane (28) could build on it, just like in Bangalore and Umar Gul got both of them in the space of two overs.
It brought Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh together, and they needed to re-build in earnest so that the collapse from the previous game did not repeat itself. The duo added 25 runs for the third wicket and was going fine, until a misjudged run meant Kohli (25) was run out.
Yuvraj then put on 97 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper MS Dhoni. The captain was aggressive with his shot making and running straight away and on the other end, Yuvraj had started hitting sixes. He hit seven huge sixes and four fours in his 36-ball stay which brought in 72 runs, his personal best in T20 Internationals. Saeed Ajmal was the one he severely punished, four sixes coming off him in the 19th over. He was finally out in the last to Gul, who once again was Pakistan’s best bowler, finishing with 4-37 from his spell. India finished at 192 for 5 in their 20 overs, a marked improvement from their last attempt.
But the hosts struggled to get an early breakthrough this time around as Nasir Jamshed and Ajmal Shehzad got them off to a great start, bringing up the fifty in the sixth over. They put on 74 runs for the first wicket as Jamshed (41) was out in the tenth over. Shehzad (31) departed soon after to reduce them to 84 for 2, as India fought back. Umar Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez prevented further damage adding 62 runs for the third wicket, but the target remained far off. With 47 runs still needed off in just over three overs, the need of the hour was big-hitting.
But Akmal (24) was bowled by Ashok Dinda and it proved to be the turning point of the match. Shahid Afridi (11) and Karman Akmal (5) failed to get going as the asking rate climbed further. Shoaib Malik couldn’t do much, but Hafeez almost did. India’s spinners Ashwin, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh had slowed down the scoring. However, Hafeez scored a sterling half-century, following up on his innings from Bangalore, and kept Pakistan’s hopes alive, as 20 runs were needed off the last over.
Ishant Sharma only conceded right runs this time, unlike Jadeja’s failure to save 10 off the last over, as India levelled the series with an eleven-run win. Hafeez’s innings of 55 off 26 balls, with six fours and three sixes, went in vain.
© Cricket World 2012
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