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Sehwag runs rampage as India beat Pakistan
by AFP


Ground:National Stadium, Karachi
Scorecard:Pakistan v India
Player:SK Raina, V Sehwag, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik
Event:Asia Cup 2008

DateLine: 26th June 2008

 

Virendar Sehwag punished Pakistan's bowling with an aggressive hundred to lead India to a comfortable six-wicket win in the final Group B Asia Cup match here on Thursday.

 

Sehwag smashed a 95-ball 119 and Suresh Raina hit a 68-ball 84 during their 198-run second wicket stand to help India overhaul Pakistan's 299-4 with 7.5 overs to spare.

 

Earlier, Shoaib Malik hit his first century as captain to help Pakistan post a challenging target.

 

However it proved a cake walk for India who were indebted to some lusty batting by Sehwag and Raina as the duo tore apart the home bowling which lost its bite after frontline paceman Umar Gul broke down with a side strain.

 

Without Gul, who limped off in the third over, the Pakistani bowling looked a shadow of the side which beat India by 25 runs in the final of the tri-series held in Bangladesh earlier this month.

 

Sehwag hit five boundaries and five towering sixes in his ninth one-day century before he holed out at long-off with just 68 runs left. Yuvraj Singh with a 47-ball 48 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni with unbeaten 26 saw the home team through in the 43rd over.

 

Raina was as ruthless as Sehwag, hitting 10 boundaries and three sixes during his 69-ball innings before he miscued a drive off paceman Rao Iftikhar and was caught at covers. The duo took just 149 balls for their partnership.

 

Raina made his maiden hundred in India's 256-run win over Hong Kong on Wednesday.

 

Both India and Pakistan reached the Super League stages of the tournament but India carry two points into the next stage by virtue of this win.

 

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh also qualified from Group A. The Super Leage starts from Saturday with India taking on Bangladesh.

 

Indian captain Dhoni said his batsmen clicked on "world's flatest track."

 

"It was a big total but the wicket was very placid and there was nothing for the bowlers. We were quite optimistic about chasing and Pakistan lost Gul and after that had not much to do," said Dhoni.

 

Malik agreed the loss of Gul was a blow.

 

"A target of 300 was defendable and we could have defended that but it was hard to come back after losing Gul," said Malik.

 

Earlier, Malik added 90 for the opening wicket with Salman Butt (35) and another 129 for the second wicket with Younus Khan (59) to propel Pakistan who won the toss and decided to bat.

 

Butt and Pakistan were slow off the mark, managing just 58 runs off the first 15 overs. Once Butt went, caught off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla in the 22nd over, Younus and Malik upped the tempo.

 

Malik reached his sixth century, third against India, in one-day internationals off 104 balls. His last one-day century came against India at Lahore two years ago.

 

The Indians were scrappy in the field as they let off Malik twice in one over from Yusuf Pathan, first when Chawla grassed one with the batsman on 116 and then Gautam Gambhir five runs later.

 

Malik finally retired hurt after suffering cramp in his leg. He hit 16 boundaries and a six during his 119-ball knock.

 

Younus followed him in the next over when he holed out off Yusuf in the deep. He hit five boundaries during his 60-ball knock.

(Article: Copyright © 2008 AFP)



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