Pakistan succeeded in closing the 5-match ODI series against India on a positive note with a rather comfortable 31-run victory in the final match played at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday, November 18th, 2007. The match was nonetheless an inconsequential one as India had already won the Indian Oil Cup with the help of three victories in the first four matches.
In the final ODI, Pakistan began the day on a bad note by losing the toss, which, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise with India having erred in opting to field. Pakistan got off to a flying start with a solid 65-run opening partnership between Salman Butt and Imran Nazir but suddenly the top order caved in with Sreesanth claiming one wicket apiece in three overs of his second spell.
At this moment, Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik came together for the good of their side and laid the foundation for Pakistan's victory with a steadily developed 168-run partnership for the 4th wicket. Shoaib Malik looked particularly meticulous in his classy 89-run knock which included 6 fours and 2 sixes, while Mohammad Yousuf at the other end contributed another crucial 74 runs helping Pakistan post an imposing target of 307 for India. Yuvraj and Kartik claimed the all-important wickets of Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik respectively with Dhoni doing the honours from behind the wickets with brilliant stumping efforts undoing both of them. Later in the innibngs, Misbah and Fawad Alam chipped in with a couple of gutsy knocks and Pakistan ended up with a total of 306 for 6 wickets in the allotted 50 overs.
On this particular day, India never seemed to be in with a chance to stay till the end of the game until Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj came on the field even as the top order came up with a regrettablly disparaging display of batting. Sohail Tanvir successfully claimed the wickets of Gambhir, Tendulkar and Sehwag early in the innings, while Uthappa edged one off Iftikhar ending up in the safe hands of Misbah shortly after he was dropped off a similar ball. Indian scoreboard now read 62 runs for 4 wickets. Only Tendulkar made a flourishing start on the top but failed to stabilize his innings with only an all-too insufficient 30-run cameo going to his credit. Later, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh provided the much needed respite to the Indian innings with an 81-run partnership for the 5th wicket before Rohit was caught at long-on by Yasir Hameed, bringing end to a crucial partnership and a brilliant half-century effort by the youngster.
Things now seemed to be more or less evenly balanced with India apparently poised for another brave cricketing battle with Yuvraj and Dhoni taking up the cause of Indian chase, but with lady luck frowning, it was not long before Yuvraj was caught off shoulder and unfortunately given out which proved to a be a fatal blow to the Indian innings in the final analysis. Soon after followed the wicket of Dhoni who was caught off a leading edge by Nazir, after having suffered some damage to his ankle. It was the lone brilliance of Pathan which shone in the final overs but the battle to win the game was over long ago and India ended up losing all the wickets for a score of 275 with one ball to spare in the innings.
This victory apparently reduced the margin of loss for Pakistan in the series to 3-2, with space to seek some consolation. More importantly, however, the ODI series only served to set the perfect stage for upcoming test series which could prove to be a cricketing battleground of another kind for the subcontinental rivals with newer horizons to explore and tougher challenges to meet.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012