India win thriller by 10 runs
India defended a total of just 167, bowling Pakistan out for 157 to win the 3rd ODI at the Feroze Shah Kotla on Sunday by 10 runs. Pakistan won the series 2-1.
Pakistan’s seamers once more wreaked havoc among the Indian top order after India won the toss and chose to bat first. With just 63 runs on board by the 16th over, hostile bowling from Junaid Khan (1/17) and Mohammad Irfan (2/28) had accounted for Ajinkya Rahane (4), Gautam Gambhir (15), Virat Kohli (7) and Yuvraj Singh (23), reducing India to 63/4.
Partnerships between Suresh Raina (31, 60b, 4x2, 6x1) and MS Dhoni (36, 55b, 4x1, 6x3), between Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja (27, 39b, 4x2) and Jadeja’s grafting with the lower order saw India edge their way to 167 runs in 43.4 overs. Saeed Ajmal ran through the middle and lower order in a career best ODI haul of 5/24.
With just 167 to defend, India needed sharp bowling as well as tight fielding and received both. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/31) in his 3rd ODI and Shami Ahmed (1/23) in his debut ODI both bowled strict, probing lines to deny Pakistan early runs. Promoted to the opening slot after Mohammad Hafeez sustained an injury to his left hand earlier, Kamran Akmal was dismissed for a duck. Younus Khan’s attempted drive resulted in a faint inside edge to his stumps four overs later, leaving Pakistan at 14/2.
Nasir Jamshed threatened to take Pakistan home successfully all by himself again before Ashwin (2/47) had him trapped LBW for. That ended a 47 run partnership between Jamshed (34) and Misbah ul Haq (39). The Pakistani skipper added another 52 for the fourth wicket Umar Akmal (25), inching closer to the total despite the strict discipline showed by the Indian bowlers and fielders.
Ashwin’s strike in the 35th over saw Misbah being caught by Rahane at leg slip. Ishant struck two overs later to send back Shoaib Malik (5) and Jadeja’s (1/19) dismissal of Umar Akmal (25) in the 40th over finally gave India a glimpse. Pakistan were still ahead of the required run rate and had Hafeez in the middle to steer them home.
Hafeez and Umar Gul nudged the total closer but progress was slow. Dhoni attacked the batsmen with close fields, cutting off the singles while the outfielders put in a dedicated effort to not give away any boundaries. The pressure got to Gul who tried to hit out, only to be caught by Jadeja, leaving Pakistan at 144/7.
Shami Ahmed had Ajmal caught behind in the next over for his first wicket in International cricket. India got another break immediately, Junaid Khan run out thanks to superb interception and throw from Suresh Raina at mid off. Pakistan were now 145/9.
Hafeez had no option but to go for the runs and he took on Ishant (3/36) who was bowling the penultimate over. Ishant bowled a wide and conceded two fours by the time he bowled the first four legal deliveries. He followed it up with a delivery given a no ball for height which Hafeez managed to fend off to short fine leg. Mohammad Irfan was turning back having charged nearly to the batsman’s end but Ishant was not placed well to receive the fielder’s throw and missed the run out from merely inches away. Hafeez’s attempt to go over midwicket off the next ball however wasn’t as lucky, Yuvraj Singh pulled off a screamer to end his fight on 21 and Pakistan’s innings on 157, 10 short of the Indian total.
MS Dhoni won the Man of the Match award for his knock while Nasir Jamshed picked up the Man of the Series award for his 241 runs in 3 matches.