Despite piling up a huge score of 321 in the 2nd ODI against Pakistan, India lost this humdinger to Pakistan by 4 wickets with a ball to spare at Punjab C.A. Stadium in Mohali, Chandigarh on Thursday, 8th November 2007. Earlier in the day, winning the toss and choosing to bat first, India lost one of its openers in the form of Ganguly in the first over itself, which was, however, followed by a very mature display of batsmanship by Gambhir and Tendulkar. Combining their experience and aggression, Sachin and Gambhir built up a 173-run second wicket partnership which stood India in good stead till the end.
The main contributor was, however, the little Maestro who made the ball play to the melodic tune of its willow but remained third time unlucky in completing his 42nd century and ended up with an outstanding 99-run knock off merely 91 balls. Gambhir also successfully scored another half-century with his 57-run effort off 68 balls, which unfortunately followed with an extremely dismal display of batting by established Batsmen like Yuvraj, Sehwag and Dhoni. Rising players like Uthappa and Pathan, known for their ecstatic batting efforts, also belied the hopes of Indian cricket fans.
Unexpectedly, it was Harbhajan Singh who came up with a useful knock of 38 runs off merely 20 balls and helped India steer past the 300-mark. India ended up with a total cricket score of 321 runs for 9 wickets in the allotted 50 overs. A 300-plus score raised hopes of another fantastic win against Pakistan but the match slipped out of India's grip largely due to its below-standard display of bowling and lack of agility on the field which saw a number of missed and dropped catches in the course of the match.
Chasing an imposing target of 322, a sensational knock of 117 off 110 balls by Younis Khan came at just the right moment for Pakistan which largely helped neutralize a commendable 99 run effort by Sachin earlier in the day and helped Pakistan level the 5-match ODI series against India by 1-1. Pakistan's batting effort was, nonetheless, not up to the mark as most of the big names failed to impress including the openers Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal who could not steady the Pakistani innings in the earlier stages. While Mohammad Yousuf succumbed to an excellent stumping by Dhoni off a genuine swinger from Harbhajan Singh, Shoaib Malik was tempted by turbanator to try a lofty one which ended up in the safe hands of Pathan in the deep. Both went back to the pavilion without making much of a contribution to their side. It was only later in the innings that Misbah came in to provide solid support as Younis was calling the shots from the other end and helped bring victory in sight for Pakistan before he departed with a commendable 49 run effort off 70 balls. From 46th over onwards, Shahid Afridi donned the mantle of Pak's savior and came up with a clean cameo of 29 runs off 26 balls while Sohail Tanvir added another useful 14 off 18 balls.
Excitement levels suddenly spiked as the chase entered its final stages and the balance of power seemingly tilted to the other side with each ball being bowled in the innings. Determined to level the series, Pakistan took the chase right into the final over and successfully scored the winning run on the penultimate ball of the innings, which yet again justified the euphoria and the element of unpredictability surrounding India-Pakistan cricket. Pakistan cruised to a 4-wicket victory against India with its highest successful one-day chase ever and heightened the anticipation levels for the upcoming one-day contests for cricketing superiority in the subcontinent.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012