Pakistan won big against India in spite of the poor performance of most of its batting line up which collapsed after a stellar opening partnership of 141 runs between Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed's 106 runs. Pakistan set a target of just 251 runs on a ground where average team score for first innings is 294 runs. It fell to Pakistani bowlers to defend this relatively small total of just 250, and they rose to the challenge. Junaid Khan bowled his heart out in an opening spell of 7-1-18-2, removing Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli. Umar Gul came in to claim Virender Sehwag's wicket, and followed it up with the dismissal of Yuvraj Singh. Suresh Raina was tested with short balls before falling to Mohammad Hafeez's offspin. Indian batting line up collapsed from 42 for 0 to 95 for 5. Indian captain M.S. Dhoni was left battling alone, and again, he fought hard till the very end, turning down singles with the 11th man Ishant Sharma and hitting the odd boundary, knowing full well the inevitable defeat with rising required run rate.
Here are some interesting stats from ESPN Cricinfo website:
- In nine innings, Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed have added 760 runs for the first wicket with four century stands, Their average of 84.44 is the best for a Pakistan opening pair (min 750 runs added).
- The 141-run stand between Hafeez and Jamshed is the seventh century opening partnership for Pakistan against India and the second by the pair against India.
- The number of runs conceded by Saeed Ajmal (20) is the fourth-lowest by a Pakistan bowler in an innings against India (min ten overs bowled).
- Jamshed scored his third century against India and his second in consecutive ODIs. Only four other Pakistan batsmen have scored more centuries against India.
- Pakistan won their third bilateral ODI series (two or more matches) in India. Their last series win came in 2005 when they won 4-2. They have also won each of their four matches against India in Kolkata.
- The 85-run victory margin is Pakistan's fifth-largest against India in ODIs in India. Only West Indies have beaten India in India by an 85-plus run margin more than once.
- While the aggregate first-wicket stand for both teams in the game was 183, the aggregate for the remaining nine wickets was just 232. This is the second-lowest aggregate for the second to tenth wickets in India-Pakistan matches (all partnerships broken).
- MS Dhoni's strike rate of 60.67 during his 54 is his lowest strike rate for a fifty-plus score in ODIs. His previous lowest was 65.90 during his 58 against Australia in Kochi in 2007.
Regardless of the result, I welcome the revival of this iconic sports rivalry with the hope that bilateral cricket will continue to be played with greater frequency and intensity for the benefit of the cricket fans around the world.
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