Malik leads Pakistan to consolation win
by AFP

Ground:KL Saini Ground, Jaipur
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir, RG Sharma, Yuvraj Singh
Event:Pakistan in India 2007/08

DateLine: 18th November 2007


Shoaib Malik put in a superb all-round performance to help Pakistan post a consolation 31-run win over India in the fifth and final one-day international here on Sunday.


The skipper top-scored with a solid 89 and then grabbed three wickets with his off-spin as Pakistan bowled out India for 275 after scoring a challenging 306-6 in the day-night game for their second victory.


Malik removed Rohit Sharma (52), captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (24) and debutant Praveen Kumar (12) to ensure his team go into the upcoming three-Test series in a better frame of mind.


The opening Test begins in New Delhi on Thursday.


Yuvraj Singh (50) was the other notable contributor for India, who had gained an unbeatable 3-1 lead going into the final match. He looked a bit surprised when given out caught behind attempting to pull paceman Umar Gul.


"It was great to win a game before the Test series," said Malik, named man of the match.


"Credit goes to all the boys. We tried out a few youngsters in this match and they did well, especially debutant wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. I think my partnership with Mohammad Yousuf was crucial."


Left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir did the early damage with three wickets to build on the efforts of Malik and Yousuf (74). He finished with 4-53 to return his best figures in eight one-dayers.


Tanvir removed in-form Sachin Tendulkar (30), opener Gautam Gambhir (12) and Virender Sehwag (10) in a lively opening spell to make sure India struggled to chase a stiff target.


He trapped Gambhir leg-before and then had Tendulkar caught by Misbah-ul-Haq in the gully soon after being struck for three fours in an over by the batsman. His third victim was Sehwag, who was caught behind.


"We lost wickets in the initial overs and that affected our chances as the asking-rate kept climbing after that. But I think we played good cricket in the series," said Dhoni.


Pakistan earlier slipped from 65 for no loss to 77-3 after being put in to bat, but Malik and Yousuf propped up the innings with a 168-run stand for the fourth wicket.


Pakistan's previous best for the fourth wicket against India was 163 between Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq at Mohali in 1999.


Fast bowler Shanthankumaran Sreesanth, playing his first match of the series, ended the tourists' early flourish when he dismissed Salman Butt (36), Imran Nazir (20) and Yasir Hameed (one) in three overs.


But Yousuf and Malik came to their team's rescue. The Pakistani skipper struck the match's first six off part-time spinner Sehwag before reaching his 24th half-century.


The duo were stumped as they tried to force the pace in the closing overs. Malik cracked two sixes and six fours in his 82-ball innings.


Yousuf looked solid during his 82-ball knock as he kept the scoreboard ticking with singles and twos. He hit just four boundaries before falling to left-arm spinner Yuvraj.


Fawad Alam (32 not out) and Misbah-ul-Haq (22) then added 38 off just five overs to help their team cross the 300 mark.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)


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