In the opening ODI match on the Pakistan Tour of India, the hosts did not fail to impress upon the visitors their intentions to remain the superior cricketing side with a level-headed 5- wicket victory against Pakistan at Nehru Stadium, Guwahati on Monday, 5th November, 2007.
The turning point of the innings came in the 30th over, when Younis Khan tried to pick one off Harbhajan only to end up in the safe hands of Pathan in the deep. In came Shahid Afridi, all set to effect another recovery act, but providence had only a cameo of 31 runs off 32 balls to his credit before being stumped by Dhoni off Tendulkar. The little Maestro soon picked up dangerous Shoaib Malik as well, turning the match around on his head. Misbah-ul-Haq made some impression with the bat by sketching another blazing picture of 27 runs off 26 balls, supported very well at the other end by Mohammad Yousuf, who ended up with an unbeaten 83 off 88 with Pakistan totalling upto the cricket score of 239 runs for 7 wickets in the prescribed 50 overs.
India had their goal clearly in sight as Sachin and Ganguly descended on the field wielding their mighty willows only to see the mightier one of Sachin Tendulkar deceive him early in the innings at the personal score of 4 when Shoaib Akhtar effected an lbw decision against the little master, warning another possible early collapse of Indian wickets. The avalanche in the waiting was, however, intelligently avoided by Ganguly and Gambhir, who built up a solid partnership of 82 runs before a lethargic Ganguly was quite easily run-out by Butt and Akmal, with an important 39 runs to his credit. Gambhir feasted on the Pakistani bowling and ended up being clean bowled by Shahid Afridi at a personal score of 44 runs off 51 balls. Next, came in the warrior pair of Yuvraj and Dhoni who took charge of the situation and made sure that efforts of their fellows and the prayers of Indian cricket fans do not go in vain. An excellent partnership of 105 runs was built up by the duo which set the stage for a comfortable Indian victory. Both Yuvraj and Dhoni were given out at the fag end of innings at the personal scores of 58 and 63 runs respectively. In came Irfan Pathan and Robin Utthappa to sensibly steer India to victory with their little but nonetheless important personal contributions. Dhoni was declared man of the match for leading the team from the front with an excellent display of batting and three successful wicket-taking efforts against Pakistan. It was a match where team spirit of the Indian cricket team shone out in a commendable winning effort. The things have only grown more interesting and the excitement is sure to reach greater levels in anticipation of what might come off another confrontation between the two sides in the next ODI set to be played at Chandigarh on Thursday.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012