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Monday, December 31, 2012

Cricket: Dhoni Ton In Vain As Pakistan Beat India In First ODI!



Junaid Khan
Team India never knows a thing when there is seam, swing and green. A cricketing fact that has been proved time and again over the years. There had been lot of rains in Chennai on Saturday and the match on Sunday was in doubt due to wet ground conditions and chances for more showers. Finally the match did start after some delay, but the conditions were still overcast, ground still moist and the wicket green. An ideal situation for the Pakistan fast bowlers in a day match starting in the morning. Pakistan won the toss for the third time in this tour and India faced the usual music right from the start. A perfect display of seam and swing bowling had the Indian stumps in tatters. Junaid Khan started India’s top order collapse by bowling out Sehwag who came into the One Day team just to go back to the pavilion in quick time. The Junaid fury went unabated to root out the stumps of Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh too, and had Rohit Sharma caught. Mohammad Irfan credited himself with the stumps of Gambhir. India were reduced to 29 for 5 in under 10 overs. Any cricket team would find this situation very difficult to recover from and come back into the match.

MS Dhoni
But India captain MS Dhoni nearly did it. First with Raina and then with Ashwin Dhoni started from scratches to build the innings—he took 86 balls to get to his half century and then pressed on the accelerator. At the most crucial time for his team Dhoni hit his 8th hundred in 212 ODIs and remained not out on 113. India reached 227 for 6 which looked impossible early on. In the final analysis Dhoni managed only to add respectability to the Indian total and the target of 228 for Pakistan was never going to be a winning one. Pakistan captain Misbah’s drop catch of Dhoni saved India from further embarrassment.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma started with a fierce spell of fast bowling reducing Pakistan 21 for 2 in 10 overs, and run getting was proving to be extremely difficult. But India failed to keep up the pressure as Jamshed who laid anchors strongly was let off three times, and the Indian spin and slow bowlers, Ashwin and Yuvraj in particular failed to provide any breakthrough. Younus Khan (58) and Jamshed steadied the innings building a hundred run plus partnership and the solidity of Shoaib Malik (34 not out) in the end guided Pakistan to a rather easy victory with almost two overs to spare. Jamshed achieved a painstaking but rewarding century and he saw his team through remaining not out on 101. The Scorecard:

Pakistan now lead the ODI Series 1-0 defeating India by 6 wickets in the first one day international played in Chennai yesterday. Though featuring on the losing side MS Dhoni was adjudged the Player of the Match for his great efforts. However, playing true to his pitch-and-conditions mindedness Dhoni said after the match that the Chennai pitch played better in the Pakistan innings. Why doesn’t he instead analyze why his team continues to be clueless against seam, swing and green irrespective of where it plays?

The second ODI of the three match India-Pakistan Series is scheduled on January 3 in Kolkata. For the moment it is about ushering in the New Year 2013 and exchange of good wishes on both sides. We wish all our readers a Happy New Year 2013! Of course, on a subdued and sober note due to the tragic circumstances prevailing in the country now as is apparent in these pages.

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