Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Pakistan chase down 300+ against India in 2008 Asia Cup clash courtesy of Younis Khan's adroit ton
July 2, 2008 - This was a year before the Lahore terrorist attack took place and cricket was still blooming in Pakistan. Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates were the teams participating in the 2008 edition of the Asia Cup.
No doubt, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had the ability to outdo any opposition on their day. But, the rivalry between India and Pakistan provided for maximum excitement. The teams first met in the 5th match of the tournament in which India secured a victory by 6 wickets with as many as eight overs remaining.
The two teams next met in the 10th match of the competition by which time Sri Lanka had already qualified for the finals and were waiting for a worthy opponent. Had India won the match, they would have locked their final berth. The mercurial team that Pakistan are, they did not take long to bounce back after a capitulation just a few days ago.
It was India who batted first and Virender Sehwag started in his characteristic manner, punishing the Pakistan bowlers. The opener fell just one shy of his half-century but the knock came at a strike rate of almost 150, giving India the early impetus.
Gautam Gambhir also did slightly better than run a ball but double strikes from Abdur Rauf in the 12th over jolted India a bit . Yuvraj Singh then looked easy on the eye as always in his 32-ball stay at the crease in which he stroked 37 runs. But, with his dismissal before the 20-over mark, India were down at 129/4 and the hosts came back into the game big time.
Sincere half-centuries from MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma ensured that the collapse was not stretched further. A late assault from Irfan Pathan took India past 300.
Iftikhar Anjum and Abdur Rauf were among the wickets for Pakistan.
The total was challenging for Pakistan, but with the benign pitch at the National Stadium in Karachi, the Indian bowlers wilted away without any sort of support from the conditions, or fortune.
The ball was coming onto the bat nicely under lights and the Pakistan opening pair of Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed added 65 runs within the first 8 overs. Jamshed had to depart after a well compiled half-century due to cramps.
In came Younis Khan who played a masterful knock of 123* of 117 deliveries. Younis remained unbeaten in the chase and absorbed all the pressure. He found a worthy ally in Misbah-ul-Haq who played freely for his 70 off 62 deliveries.
The duo came the hardest on Praveen Kumar, who failed to find any swing and with his easy pace, he became the prime target for the Pakistan batsmen. Younis and Misbah had an unbeaten partnership of 144 and took Pakistan home with 27 balls remaining.
Younis brought up his 5,000 ODI runs in the match with an authoritative reverse sweep off Piyush Chawla. "We had a good start. I just went there and played some sensible batting. Misbah finished off very well. I practised my [sweep ] shots against the spinners and it has worked. But the main thing is the wicket is pretty flat," the batsman said after the brilliantly managed chase.
Things could have turned tricky had India not won their next match against Sri Lanka. But, with a 6-wicket victory, the Men in Blue marched into the final, where they were handed a heavy 100-run defeat by Sri Lanka.
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