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Pakistan beat India in tri-series final
June 14, 2008 19:16 IST
Last Updated: June 15, 2008 00:53 IST
Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] and his teammates failed to climb the run-mountain, as Pakistan shoved a 25-run defeat down India's throat to win the tri-series in Dhaka on Saturday night.
Despite dominating the tournament with characteristic ruthlessness, the Indians failed when it mattered most and choked in the final, allowing an under-pressure Pakistan to avenge their league match defeat and run away with the silverware.
After twin tons by Salman Butt [Images] (129 retired hurt) and Younis Khan (108) propelled Pakistan to 315 for three, India faltered early in their chase and eventually folded for 290 in 48.2 overs.
Dhoni (64 off 59 balls) and Yuvraj Singh [Images] (59 off 56 balls) tried their best but their batting colleagues failed to convert the starts into useful innings.
A strong start was pre-requisite for such a mammoth chase and with Virender Sehwag [Images] and Gautam Gambhir [Images] (40 off 33 balls) in red hot form, India expected another solid foundation from the openers.
But the law of averages finally caught up with Sehwag, who scratched around for his two runs before giving Shoaib Malik [Images] a simple catch off Sohail Tanvir [Images] at mid-off in the second over.
Rohit Sharma (24) joined Gambhir in the middle and kept India in the hunt with some fluent stroke-play. The duo seemed to have steadied the ship till Umar Gul came up with a two-wicket burst, dismissing both in successive overs.
Rohit's fluffed pull found Nasir Jamshed at deep backward square leg, while Gambhir cut it to backward point to the same substitute fielder to leave India reeling at 79 for three inside 13 overs.
Yusuf Pathan too could not deliver and threw away his wicket after a run-a-ball 25, as did Suresh Raina (24) after the left-hander had put on 73 runs with Yuvraj.
As long as Yuvraj was in the middle, India seemed right on course but Shahid Afridi [Images] had other ideas and he snared the left-hander in the 32nd over to jolt India. Yuvraj's 59-ball 56 included five boundaries, besides a six.
Dhoni and Irfan Pathan [Images] (28) kept India afloat for some more time but, at the end of the day, it was simply not enough.
Earlier, Pakistan rode on a 205-run second wicket stand between Butt and Younis Khan to amass 315 for three.
With Pakistan Cricket Board chief Nasim Ashraf in attendance, Malik and his under-pressure teammates had extra reason to put up a better show and they decided to take a slow but steady approach which clearly paid off.
The sedate start proved the lull before the storm and after Butt and Younis laid the perfect foundation for a big score, Misbah-ul Haq threw his bat to good effect and chipped in with a 33-run cameo off just 21 balls as the side went past the 300-mark.
Dhoni used as many as eight bowlers, including Suresh Raina, but with little success.
After Shoaib Malik won the toss and decided to take first strike of the Sher-e-Bangla track, Pakistan decided to shun extravagance and keep enough wickets in hand to provide that late burst.
Butt curbed his natural aggression while Kamran Akmal (15) was straitjacketed. But with the first nine overs yielding just 29 runs, Akmal decided to break free and hit Irfan Pathan for a four but the pacer had his revenge in the next delivery as he sucked the batsman into tickling one behind the stumps where Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the catch.
Butt had that fortune of the brave too as Rohit Sharma grassed one after the Pakistani had cut hard at a Praveen Kumar delivery while batting on 19.
Having found his feet, Younis stepped out to hit Virender Sehwag out of the park and he then slog-swept Piyush Chawla [Images] for similar treatment to bring up the team's 150.
Though subdued compared to his elder partner, Butt helped himself to occasional boundaries as he cantered to his seventh ODI century, celebrating the feat by hitting Chawla over the ropes.
Younis too soon notched up his fourth ODI century, which came off 92 balls, but could add only eight more runs before offering a skier to Sehwag off Ishant Sharma to fall after a 99-ball knock which was studded with eight hits to the fence, besides three sixes.
Butt and Misbah then threw caution to the winds and went after the Indian bowlers, who, for the first time in the series, looked clueless. Butt eventually retired hurt in the 46th over but that was hardly a consolation for Dhoni's team as runs came thick and fast.