M A I N   N E W S

India clinch Karachi thriller
M. R. Mishra

Yuvraj Singh hugs teammate Ashish Nehra following India's five-run victory over Pakistan
Yuvraj Singh (L) hugs teammate Ashish Nehra following India's five-run victory over Pakistan in the first ODI in Karachi on Saturday. 

Virender Sehwag hits a square-cut
Virender Sehwag hits a square-cut during his quick-fire knock of 79.

Cricket fans celebrate India's victory over Pakistan in Jammu
Cricket fans celebrate India's victory over Pakistan in Jammu on Saturday. — Reuters photos

Karachi, March 13
India scored a sensational five-run win in the first one-day international of their historic cricket tour of Pakistan here today in a thriller that was decided on the last ball of the tie in which a world record of 693 runs were made on a day of scintillating batting by the two sides.

In a nightmarish reminder of the last-ball-six victory by the current Pakistan coach Javed Miandad against India nearly 20 years ago, the home side required six runs off the final ball to overtake the visitors’ 349, but Ashish Nehra kept his nerve and Moin Khan spooned a catch as the capacity crowd of nearly 40,000 fell silent.

Having been surprisingly put in to bat by Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, the vaunted Indian batting machine raced to 349 for 7 with the ever dependable Rahul Dravid scoring a magnificent 99 and Virender Sehwag a blazing 79 in 58 balls against the famed Pakistani bowling line-up led by ‘Rawalpindi Express’ Shoaib Akhtar. The Pakistani bowlers were thrashed to all corners of the ground.

Set a near improbable task of 350 runs to beat their arch-rivals, Pakistan began poorly but Inzamam played a great knock of 122 off 104 balls to set up a thriller which was decided on the final ball leaving India winners.

The victory gave India a 1-0 lead in the five-match one-day series, the next tie of which is to be played in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

Man-of-the-match Inzamam and Yousuf Youhana (73 off 68 balls) kept Pakistan on track after both their openers perished cheaply but the hosts lost their way in the home stretch in a match played amidst tight security arrangements.

The hosts needed nine runs in the last over but Ganguly brought his fielders close to the circle throwing the challenge to Moin Khan and Rana Naveed-ul Hasan to go over the top.

The pair ultimately fell short of the target which could have eclipsed the previous highest run chase record of Australia who had scored 330 for seven against South Africa in Port Elizabath in 2001-02.

The day clearly belonged to the Indians who scored their highest ever total against Pakistan eclipsing the 316 for seven they made in Dhaka in 1998.

Beside’s Dravid, Mohd Kaif (46), Saurav Ganguly (45) and Sachin Tendulkar (28) also chipped in with useful contributions.

In reply, the two Pakistani openers Yasir Hameed and Imram Farhat began a little cautiously and were looking to settle down when Balaji, who started the bowling operations from the far end, sent back Hameed with a gem of a delivery.

Hameed played over the line of an incoming delivery to bebowled for just seven much to the delight of the Indians who desperately needed an early breakthrough.

His opening partner Farhat joined him in the pavilion two runs later as he edged an outside the off-stump delivery off Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid made no mistake behind the stumps. He scored 24 off 29 balls.

With the home team precriously placed at 34 for two, Youhana and Inzamam performed the salvage job with a 135-run second wicket partnership on a track which offered hardly offered any assistance to the bowlers.

The two batsmen played watchfully in the initial stages before launching a savage attack on the Indian bowlers to put their team on course.

Youhana was particularly harsh on Ganguly and left arm spinner Murali Kartik clobbering them for a flurry of boundaries on both sides of the wicket.

Part-timer Virender Sehwag ultimately broke the stand when he induced Youhana to go for a lofted shot and substitute Irfan Pathan latched on to a well-judged catch in the deep.

But there was no respite for the Indians as Inzamam lifted the pace of scoring with some blinding shots while his partner Younis Khan was also prompt to despatch the loose deliveries to the boundary.

The Pakistan captain eventually fell to Kartik who was re-introduced into the attack towards the end with Dravid taking a smart catch. His 122 came off 104 balls and was laced with 12 boundaries and two sixes.

Earlier, the Indian openers Sehwag and Tendulkar provided a blistering start to the innings as the Pakistan paceman struggled to find their rhythm and were often guilty of overstepping the crease or bowling wide balls.

Shoaib’s first over itself yielded 10 runs as he bowled a couple of wides and no balls in a bid to generate some pace on what was an absolutely batting-friendly track.

The opening pair put on 69 runs in just nine overs before Shoaib provided the first breakthough for the hosts by capturing the prized scalp of Tendulkar for 28 which came off 35 balls and contained four boundaries and a six.

The star batsman slashed a widish ball and paid the price as he was caught by Rana Naveed-ul Hasan at gully.

After his partner’s dismissal, Sehwag set the packed stadium ablaze with some audacious strokeplay to notch up his 13th half century in one-dayers as the runs came in a deluge.

Paceman Rana Naveed-ul Hasan, who was selected in the team in place of an injured Shabbir Ahmed, was introduced into the attack in the 11th over but his comeback to international cricket got off to a nightmarish start as he conceded as many as 24 runs in his first over.

Ganguly and Dravid kept up the pace of scoring after Sehwag returned to the pavilion but the quick dismissals of Ganguly (45 off 47 balls) and Yuvraj Singh (3) raised Pakistani hopes of restricting the visitors under 300.


Sehwag b Naved 79

Tendulkar c Naved b Akhtar 28

Ganguly c and b Naved 45

Dravid b Akhtar 99

Singh c Hameed b Naved 3

Kaif lbw b Sami 46

Badani not out 8

Khan b Sami 0

Kartik not out 3

Extras (lb-7, b-1, w-10, nb-20) 38

Total (for 7 wkts, 50 overs) 349

Fall of wkts: 1/69, 2/142, 3/214, 4-220, 5/338, 6/344, 7/344.

Bowling: S Akhtar 10-0-55-2, M Sami 10-0-74-2, Naved 10-0-73-3, A Razzak 9-0-83-0, S Mallik 10-0-50-0. Y Hammed 1-0-6-0.


Yasir Hameed b Balaji 7

Farhat c Dravid b Zaheer 24

Youhana c sub (Pathan) b Sehwag 73

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Dravid b Kartik 122

Younis Khan b Kartik 46

Abdul Razzaq b Zaheer 27

Moin Khan c Zaheer b Nehra 16

Shoaib Malik c Kaif b Zaheer 7

Naveed-ul-Hasan not out 3

Extras (lb-10, w-7, nb-2) 19.

Total: (for 8 wkts, 50 overs) 344.

FOW: 1-32, 2-34, 3-169, 4-278, 5-305, 6-322, 7-340, 8-344.

Bowling: Balaji 10-1-56-1, Zaheer Khan 10-0-66-3, Ashish Nehra 10-0-58-1, Kartik 10-0-74-2, Ganguly 1-0-14-0, Tendulkar 3-0-34-0, Sehwag 6-0-32-1. — PTI


PM congratulates cricket team

New Delhi, March 13
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today congratulated the Indian cricket team on its thrilling victory over Pakistan in the first one-day international at Karachi.

According to PMO officials, Mr Vajpayee took time off his busy schedule and watched the cricket telecast, particularly the nerve-wracking last few overs. Soon after India’s victory, Mr Vajpayee congratulated Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly and other members of the team. — UNI

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