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Pakistan expel India in a thriller | Match 6, Arise Asia Cup 2014

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Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi’s two sixes made all the difference as Pakistan prevailed over India in an epic thriller at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday. Pakistan won the virtual semi-final against India by 1 wicket with two balls to spare.

Having restricted India to a below par total of 245, Pakistan were off to a racy start from the left and right hand combination of Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad. The two openers were threatening to run away with the game when a carrom ball from R Ashwin lured Sharjeel Khan into a cover drive and got him bowled through the gate. Sharjeel Khan scored 25 (from 30 balls) in an opening stand of 71 in just 11 overs.

Leg spinner Amit Mishra got the second wicket when Ahmed Shehzad (42 from 44 balls) pulled his attempted flipper straight to mid wicket. A silly run out of Misbah-ul-Haq all courtesy of poor calling from Mohammad Hafeez reduced Pakistan to 96 for 3 in the 17th over. More trouble was in store for the chasing side as Umar Akmal attempted a premeditated slog sweep against an Amit Mishra leg break to perish. It took some brilliant catching from Ravindra Jadeja with the fielder running backwards from covers and holding onto the skier.

India’s fielding was hot and Amit Mishra was dominating the Pakistanis. But Virat Kohli didn’t get the best from Ravindra Jadeja’s left arm spin while R Ashwin wasn’t threatening to take wickets in a hurry. Although Ashwin was unlucky as Dinesh Karthik fluffed a stumping chance down the legside offered by Sohaib Maqsood. That was the turning point as Sohaib Maqsood along with Hafeez added 87 runs to take Pakistan to 200.

Mohammad Hafeez departed in the 44th over after his top edged sweep off a carrom ball from Ashwin was caught by the diving Bhuvneshwar Kumar at long leg. Hafeez finished with 75 from 117 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes. India was strongly back in the contest when Sohaib Maqsood got run out for a 53-ball 38 which was mainly because of a superb quicker one fired onto his pads from Amit Mishra.

India had Pakistan at 203 for 6 in the 45th over but somehow failed to deliver the finishing blows. Shahid Afridi took the game away along with Umar Gul with a couple of big hits. Just when it was thought to be an easy win, there was another twist in the tale with Pakistan losing two wickets in the 49th over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Both Umar Gul and Mohammad Talha got out trying for the big shots that were not required at all.

Luckily for Pakistan, Shahid Afridi was there right till the end and his two consecutive sixes off R Ashwin sealed the fate of India. There was a false hope for India as R Ashwin clean bowled Saeed Ajmal round his legs in the final over to have the equation at 9 runs from 5 balls. Afridi remained unbeaten with 34 from 18 balls with 2 fours and 3 sixes.

For India, Amit Mishra in his comeback game bowled a great spell of 10-0-28-2. R Ashwin tried his best to take 3 for 44 in 9.4 overs. The Man of the Match was Mohammad Hafeez for his all-round performance of 2 superb catches, 2 for 38 in 9 overs and the sheet anchor knock of 75.

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