Match report: Ind vs Pak – 1st ODI
MS Dhoni’s valiant century went in vain as Nasir Jamshed took Pakistan to a six-wicket win over India with an unbeaten 101 in the first ODI at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. With the victory Pakistan has taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series.
Defending 227, Indian debutant, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, uprooted in-form Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez's off-stump off his first delivery in ODIs; while the opener’s replacement Azhar Ali survived a leg-before appeal on the very next ball. However, 21 runs later, the pacer got Ali to hit the ball straight to Rohit Sharma at mid-wicket.
With Kumar in peak form and India needing to make early inroads into the opposition line-up MS Dhoni persisted with the debutant. Kumar’s first spell figures read 7-3-11-2. But, Nasir Jamshed who had survived a run out earlier in the innings built a vital partnership with Younis Khan. The duo milked the Indian attack and scored at a steady pace as India struggled to make further dents in the Pakistan line-up. And as they gained in confidence Younis launched Suresh Raina straight over his head for a six to bring up his half-century; and a ball later, Jamshed who had reached his fifty a bit earlier hit him into the stands over long-off. The third-wicket stand was finally broken for 112 when Younis Khan was caught at mid-wicket by Ravichandran Ashwin off Ashoke Dinda. But by then the duo had guided his team to a comfortable position.
Pakistan continued to inch towards the target, amidst half-chances as India looked for breakthroughs. Dropped on 68 by Yuvraj at point, Jamshed reached his century as he continued to anchor the innings and with Shoaib Malik and took the visitors across the line with 11 balls to spare.
Earlier, after Misbah-ul-Haq opted to bowl first, Junaid Khan rocked India on the back foot by sending back the top order within the first ten overs. The pacer triggered the mini-collapse by crashing into Virender Sehwag’s middle and off stumps. His opening partner, Gautam Gambhir who had looked tentative against Mohammad Irfan was castled in the next by the tall pacer. In the next over, Junaid dealt a double blow by disrupting Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh’s woodwork. And nine runs later, Rohit Sharma became the pacer’s next scalp. Diving to his right Hafeez pulled off a brilliant low catch at third slip after the ball took the edge of Rohit’s bat.
With India tottering on 29 for five, Suresh Raina and Dhoni joined forces and steered India out of trouble. What followed was a superb display of grit and determination as the Indian captain fashioned a comeback for India. With boundaries hard to come by, they kept the scoreboard ticking with singles and twos to stitch a 73-run partnership. Raina lost his leg-stump to Hafeez in the 34th over. After doing all the hard work to help resuscitate the innings, he departed seven short of what would have been a well-earned fifty.
However, undeterred and with Ashwin for company, Dhoni continued to fight back. He took the attack to the Pakistani bowlers to propel India to a respectable total. The duo added 125 runs in a record seventh-wicket partnership for India. The first six of the innings came off a free hit when Dhoni lofted Junaid over mid-on. One of the most delightful moments for the spectators came when Dhoni smashed a Saeed Ajmal delivery out of the ground. In the penultimate over, which fetched 21 runs, he drove Irfan along the ground to take the team to 200 with a boundary and then hit the bowler to the fence to reach 7000 ODI runs, and followed it up with a six over cover to bring up his eighth ODI century under trying circumstances. Capitalising on the life given to him on 16 by his opposite number, Dhoni remained unbeaten on 113.
Man-of-the-Match: MS Dhoni for his 113-run knock that helped India set up a competitive total
Brief scores: India 227/6 in 50 overs (MS Dhoni 113*, S Raina 43, R Ashwin 31*, J Khan 4/43) lost to Pakistan 228/4 in 48.1 overs (N Jamshed 101*, Y Khan 58, S Malik 34*, B Kumar 2/27) by six wickets