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Dawn India v Pakistan, Match Report
From Tanvir Ahmed - 9 March 1996

Pakistan disappoints at Bangalore

Bangalore, March 9: India defeated Pakistan by 39 runs in the quarter-final of the Sixth World Cup here on Saturday and earned the right to play Sri Lanka the semi-final in Calcutta on March 13. A mammoth crowd, over 55,000 by conservative estimates, re- joiced like anything on their team's well-earned success against a side which had more depth in batting and have two of the world's best swingers of the balls. That Wasim Akram could not play in Saturday's match was a shock for not only the Pakistanis but here as well. in fact one senior Indian journalist here at her stadium could not hide his satisfaction when he saw Aamir Sohail come out for the toss. ``Now the two sides are bal- anced. With Akram Pakistan is a better team,'' he said.

It is very difficult to actually pinpoint what went wrong and when after the Pakistani openers had given a scintillating start of 84, scoring at the rate of over seven per over, chasing the Indian total of 287. The required run rate when Pakistan began their innings, was 5.90 but Aamir Sohail, deputising for Wasim Akram who declared himself unfit, and Saeed Anwar almost ran a run riot scoring in the initial overs at the rate of a shade more than 8 runs an over.

Once these two had departed everything went wrong for the defend- ing champions. In fact things went bad also when the Indians, after being contained to 200 for 3 in the 42nd over, went on the rampage to score 87 runs in the last eight overs, six of which were bowled by Aqib Javed and Waqar Younis.

In fact Ajay Jadeja hit three consecutive fours and one six to collect 24 runs from Waqar's 9th over.

It was not Pakistan's day from the beginning. Till Friday evening we were assured here by the manager that Wasim was fine and will play in the match. If Intikhab was trying to gain any psychologi- cal advantage by keeping the captain's fitness a secret it may be another matter. But it was a rude shook to the Pakistani newsmen here (which frankly were only four) to see Aamir Sohail come out in the middle with Azhar for the toss. In fact there was some whispering going on at the media centre about Wasim not playing.

But even without their skipper and certainly the best bowler in his class, the Pakistanis did not do badly. I for one would say that they fielded better in fact better than in any other match of this tournament. They bowled well.

Waqar's first spell of four overs was really torrid and for the first time in this World Cup the Indian run-machine, Sachin Tendulkar, had to go on the defensive. When Ata-ur-Rehman, playing in place of Wasim disposed of Tendulkar for 31, there was a hush at the Chinnaswamy Stadium where more than 55,000 people were till now vociferously chanting, ``India, India'.

Pakistani bowlers and fielders maintained a good grip on the game till the 42nd over, after Jadeja, who had done nothing so far in this contest became alive and hammered both Waqar and Aqib. In fact he and Anil Kumble took and later pressed and Raju took 62 runs for the last 5 overs.

Even then Pakistan made a good start and what Inzamam and Ejaz and Miandad were required to do after the opener had left, was to keep moving the score board. What actually happened was that while Ejaz and Inzamam lost their wickets in sheer hurry, trying to force the bowlers, even the good balls. I am really sorry for Inzamam. He had a very bad World Cup this time. There were lot of expectations from him but he completely disappointed. Ejaz, who was playing with lot of confidence in the earlier matches looked to me lacking confidence in himself. In sheer frustration, he lofted a Prasad delivery to long-off where Srinath held a good catch. That was 3 for 122. From then on the scoring rate went down and the required run rate kept climbing. Salim Malik and Miandad two of the most experienced members of the team, got themselves stuck in the middle and so far as I am concerned the match was over when Malik was LBW to Kumble after making 38 in the 35th over.

At this stage Pakistan needed 104 runs in 14 overs being penal- ised of one over as they had bowled slow in the Indian innings. A last ditch effort by Rashid Latif, during which he scored 26 from 25 balls with the help of two sixes was nothing but a futile at- tempt. If the future of the Pakistan team is to be summed up it will get down to turning points - firstly the bowlers and field- ers became relaxed after containing India at 200 for 4 in the 42nd over and then Malik and Miandad took too long to settle and delayed the slog for too long. In fact Miandad had this God-given opportunity to come forward and play an aggressive innings. But he remained completely off colour during his innings.

Source: Dawn
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