2nd ODI: India v Pakistan, Match Report
Walter Fernandez - 30 September 1997
India win thriller in Karachi to square one-day series
Karachi, Sept 30: A superb knock by opener Saurav Ganguly enabled India to snatch a thrilling four-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second one-day international at the National Stadium here on Tuesday.
On a day marred by crowd disturbance on three occasions reducing the game by three overs, Pakistan after calling correct on the spin of the coin and electing to bat notched up 265 for four in 47.2 overs. In reply, India got home by slamming 266 for six in 46.3 overs.
At the outset, skipper Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi got Pakistan off to a reasonable opening stand of 55 runs in 7.5 overs, when the former perished for a 22-ball 16 laced with two sparkling boundaries.
Then Shahid Afridi and Ejaz Ahmed continued to consolidate the Pakistan innings with a second wicket partnership of 71 runs. Shahid Afridi, who was in a belligerent mood, cracked 72 off 56 deliveries before returning after holding out to Abey Kuruvilla off the bowling of Nilesh Kulkarni. His gem of a knock was studded with nine fours and a hit over the fence.
Soon after, Ejaz fell to give Kulkarni his second wicket for 31 off 54 balls. He was magnificently caught by Mohammad Azharuddin in the 25th over.
But the in-form Inzamamul Haq and young Saleem Elahi set about to repair the damage and at 176 for three, play was suspended for seven minutes when someone from the general enclosure threw a rock onto the field.
In all, 19 minutes of play were lost because of spectator problems. The second time it took place at 210 for four and the third was at 238 for four.
Strangely though, one fails to understand how the handful of people who caused the trouble managed to sneak in with stones into the stands when even the scribes were given a thorough check-up before being allowed into the stadium. And that too, after the local administration for weeks in advance had publicised that there would be fool-proof safety arrangements for the match.
At 197 for four, Saleem Elahi held out to Kulkarni to give Rajesh Chauhan his first wicket.
But Inzamamul Haq did not allow himself to be distracted by the fall of Elahi and found a useful partner in Moin Khan. When the Indians left the field, three overs less than those stipulated because of another rtone throwing incident, Inzamam was unbeaten on an attractive 74 from 92 deliveries, aided with four boundaries and a six while Moin had 31 off 33 balls credited to his name. The pair had posted 68 runs for the fifth wicket.
For India, Rajesh Chauhan with two for 48 and Nilesh Kulkarni with two for 66 were the only wicket-takers.
Immediately, lunch was taken and the Match Referee Ranjan Madugulle of Sri Lanka entered the Press Box and said he had decided to reduce the game to 47 overs and set India 266 to win the game.
Saurav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar got India off to a screeching start and in just three overs from the fourth to the sixth, plundered 40 runs off the bowling of Waqar Younus and Aaqib Javed. the latter was blasted for 27 runs in his initial spell of two overs.
Such was the severity of the Indian onslaught that Ganguly took on the more aggresive role and went on to complete his ninth half century off only 41 balls in a stay off 65 minutes. He glazed it with nine eyecatching fours.
Tendulkar was the first to be sent back at 91. He had scored 21 off 18 deliveries and fell to a blinding diving catch by wicketkeeper Moin Khan off Azhar Mahmood. It contained two fours and a six. Later, Moin Khan tarnished his good effort by giving Vinod Kambli two lives. One was a straight forward sitter. The bowler to suffer was off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq.
The error proved costly in a sense that Ganguly and Kambli got engaged in a 98-run stand for the second wicket. Kambli was brilliantly run out by a superb throw from substitute Shahid Nazir. A run earlier he nearly succumbed to the same fate.
The fall of Saurav Ganguly at 169 for two for 89 off 96 deliveries graced with 11 fours and a six which at the finale earned hime the 'Man-of-the-Match' award, found the Indians in a spot of trouble. First Kambli, then Mohammad Azharuddin were run out and Ajay Jadeja fell cheaply, India were reeling at 195 for five in the 36th over.
But West Indian-born Robin Singh and wicketkeeper Saba Karim, who was given a torrid time by Waqar Younis at the beginning, settled down to steady the rocking boat.
The pair posted an invaluable 63 runs for the sixth wicket when Saba Karim was bowled neck and crop by Waqar Younis for a 32-ball 28, containing two fours.
Waqar Younis only conceded two runs off the penultimate over thus leaving India to get eight runs from the final Saqlain Mushtaq over.
But Pakistan's fortunes had taken a dive in the 40th over when two balls were changed. The umpires had to give a brand new ball to the Pakistanis and it badly impaired Saqlain's bowling. He could not grip the ball and when new batsman Rajesh Chauhan hoisted Saqlain's first ball for a six, it was all over bar the shouting. For the first time in three meetings, India were able to win a limited-overs international at this venue.
Nonetheless, the seeds of Pakistan's defeat was sowed during the disruption of the inning on the three occasions. Had they been able to consume their full quota of 50 overs, a sum total of around 300 runs was very much on the cards. And had that happened, there might just have been a different story to tell, so to speak.
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