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Friday, June 27, 2008

Sehwag hundred ensures easy win over Pakistan

Virender Sehwag porduced a superb innings of 119 on Thursday to power India to a crushing six-wicket win over Pakistan in their Asia Cup one-day match at the National stadium in Karachi.
Sehwag scored his ninth one-day hundred in a 198-run second wicket partnership with Suresh Raina (84) to guide India to 301 for four after 42.1 overs in reply to Pakistan's total of 299 for four.
The Pakistan score appeared imposing after Shoaib Malik had scored a captain's innings of 125 and Younis Khan added 59 but Sehwag had other ideas.
He hit 12 fours and five sixes after stand in Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq had brought off a spectacular one handed catch at wide slip to get rid of Gautam Ghambir for nine early on.
Misbah led the side after Malik had retired hurt with cramp. Pakistan also lost their pacer Umar Gul to a side strain after he had bowled just 1.2 overs.
Rao Iftikhar got Gambhir on his first ball but after that it was all Sehwag as he played some breathtaking strokes to reach his first one-day hundred for India since the 2007 World Cup match against Bermuda.
The second wicket stand, made in just 149 balls, was also an Asia Cup record, breaking the previous best of 154 between Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly against Bangladesh in 2004.
Raina fell in the 28th over after he played a loose shot to Iftkhar and was caught at cover by Fawad Alam.
Sehwag was caught at long on by Younis off Shahid Afridi after a 95-ball innings. His dismissal didn't stop the flow of runs as Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh put on further 63.
Pakistan, despite posting a big total, didn't have the same tempo in their innings and could only score 80 runs in the final 10 overs losing three wickets.
India finished top of Group B of the six-nation tournament and will play Bangladesh in the first match of the super four stage on June 28.
Earlier, Malik, who opened Pakistan's innings, recorded his first hundred as skipper and shared valuable stands of 90 with fellow-opener Salman Butt (35) and 133 with Younis Khan (59) to ensure Pakistan took full advantage of batting first in extremely hot and humid conditions.
After a series of handsome drives, Malik reached his sixth hundred and third against India in the 36th over from 104 balls with 13 fours and one six.
He survived two chances in the 39th over when he was dropped on 116 and 121 by Piyush Chawla and Gautam Gambhir from off-spinner Yousuf Pathan.
Butt was the first to go during a mixed day in the field for India when he pulled leg-spinner, Chawla straight to Suresh Raina at mid-wicket after batting for 64 balls and hitting four boundaries.
Younis, who scored his 34th one-day half-century was the second man out, also caught by Raina who took a smart running catch at mid-wicket off Pathan.
After Malik retired hurt, Mohammad Yousuf picked up the pace by hitting five fours from 20 balls while Misbah-ul-Haq contributed an unbeaten 31 from 26 balls.
Yousuf was run out in the 46th over while big hitting Afridi fell in the penultimate over.
A crowd of around 25,000 turned out to watch India play a match in Pakistan for the first time since February, 2006.


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