Match report: Ind vs Pak – 2nd ODI
With a comprehensive 85-run win over India in the second ODI at the Eden Gardens, Pakistan won the three-match series 2-0.
Although the Pakistan batsmen weren’t able to build on the platform given by their openers, their bowling attack led by Junaid Khan seized the advantage from India by claiming early wickets. Defending a competitive target, the Pakistan bowlers struck at regular intervals to put the visitors in the driver’s seat. Apart from Mohammad Irfan, every bowler in the Pakistan bowling attack contributed in dismantling the Indian batting line-up.
Even as the rest of the line-up capitulated after getting off to a decent start, Indian skipper, MS Dhoni fought a lone battle and was left stranded on 54 as he ran out of partners.
Junaid Khan, who had claimed the Indian top order in the previous game, got the ball rolling by claiming Gautam Gambhir’s scalp to end the opening partnership for 42. And in his next over, Kamran Akmal pulled off a brilliant catch diving to his left to remove Virat Kohli. It was then Umar Gul’s turn to strike. He picked up the key wickets of Virender Sehwag, four runs later, and then had the in-form Yuvraj Singh caught by the wicketkeeper.
With India tottering on 70 for four it was up to Suresh Raina and Dhoni to rescue the hosts, but just as the partnership was beginning to take shape a quick stumping off Mohammad Hafeez saw the back of the former. With the required run-rate creeping up, the hosts required a substantial partnership to stay in the game. Dhoni had dropped anchor and was holding up one end, but he needed an able ally at the other. Ravichandran Ashwin, promoted up the order returned after adding just three runs; and the last recognised batsman, Ravindra Jadeja, who replaced him at the crease, departed after hitting Saeed Ajmal to Khan at mid-on in the 40th over. The off-spinner then removed Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashoke Dinda in the same over to bring out the last man Ishant Sharma in the middle. It was only a matter of time before the visitors crossed the finish line to continue their winning streak in Kolkata. Khan then returned to claim Sharma and seal the win for Pakistan.
Earlier, hoping to exploit the overcast conditions, Dhoni opted to bowl after winning the toss. But Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez got the visitors off to a superb start with a 141-run opening stand. They steadily upped the run-rate and milked the Indian attack to bring up their individual half-centuries and the team’s hundred as the Indian bowlers struggled to break the partnership.
However, once Jadeja claimed Hafeez’s wicket, and a brilliant piece of fielding by the ever-alert Dhoni ran out Azhar Ali, after a leg-before appeal was turned down, India caught a much-needed break. Raina then claimed Younis Khan lbw, while Ashwin dismissed Misbah-ul-Haq to push Pakistan on the back foot.
With the run-rate dropping, Jamshed struck Dinda over the head for a six while attempting to ease off the pressure as the Indian bowlers continued to hit the deck hard. The batsman then brought up his third century against India with a boundary. But the opener was stumped after he stepped out to hit Jadeja and was found short of his crease, thereby giving India a vital breakthrough. And a ball later, Akmal was caught by Sehwag in the slips. Having made their way back into the game, India stepped up the pressure and stifled the batsmen. Bowling in the death overs, Ishant Sharma, who had bowled a tight line through the day, claimed three wickets in his last two overs to bowl Pakistan out in the penultimate over. After Malik hit a Sharma delivery to Yuvraj Singh at cover, Saeed Ajmal holed out to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the following over. Sharma then castled Umar Gul and Mohammad Irfan in his next to restrict Pakistan to 250.
Man-of-the-Match: Nasir Jamshed for a splendid century
Brief scores: Pakistan 250 all out in 48.3 overs (N Jamshed 106, M Hafeez 76, I Sharma 3/34, R Jadeja 3/41) beat India 165 all out in 48 overs (MS Dhoni 54*, S Ajmal 3/20, J Khan 3/39) by 85 runs