Pakistan ease to comfortable win in tour opener
by AFP

Ground:Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
Scorecard:Delhi v Pakistanis
Player:R Bhatia, Salman Butt, Younis Khan
Event:Pakistan in India 2007/08

DateLine: 2nd November 2007


Left-handed batsman Salman Butt hit form with a sparkling half-century as Pakistan warmed up for the one-day international series against India with a six-wicket win over a local side here Friday.


Butt, dropped from the playing eleven in all five matches of the preceding series against South Africa because of poor form, blazed his way to an 84-ball 83 studded with 13 fours and a six before opting to retire in the only warm-up game before the one-day series.


Imran Nazir (34) and Misbah-ul Haq (39) also spent useful time in the middle as the visitors surpassed Delhi XI's total of 213 for nine with 44 balls to spare.


The toothless bowling attack of the local side could not really test the visitors, who open the five-match series in Guwahati on November 5. The one-dayers will be followed by three Tests.


Earlier, controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar took one for 46 in a restrained performance after captain Shoaib Malik won the toss and elected to field.


Akhtar, sporting a new shorter haircut, refrained from going all out, apparently to save his firepower for tougher battles ahead.


The 32-year-old, whose new-ball partner Umar Gul finished with 31 off six overs and one wicket, assumes greater responsibility for Pakistan after the withdrawal of Mohammad Asif with an elbow problem.


Akhtar returned to international cricket against South Africa last month after 13 months on the sidelines due to a drugs ban, later rescinded, injuries and a 13-match suspension for hitting Asif with a bat.


Prolific batsman Younis Khan was the surprise bowling package, taking two wickets in as many balls with his medium-pace bowling.


For the local side, Rajat Bhatia top-scored with 75 off 106 balls including seven fours and a six. Shikhar Dhawan chipped in with 52 which included a six off AKhtar.


Pakistan were sharp in the field, enjoying three run-outs of the Delhi batsmen, who were keen to get among runs before the start of the domestic season on Sunday.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)


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