Sports Magazine

India Clinched Thriller to Level T20 Series

By Azharnadeem
Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh hit 72 off 36 balls

India downed Pakistan by 11 runs in the thrilling second and final Twenty20 international at Ahmedabad on Friday to tie the two-match series 1-1.

Riding on Yuvraj Singh’s 36-ball 72, laced with seven sixes and four boundaries, and an array of contributions from the rest after, India set a considerable total of 192-5.

In reply Mohammad Hafeez slammed a quick-fire half-century (55 off 26) after a flamboyant 74-run opening stand between Nasir Jamshed (41 off 32) and Ahmed Shehzad (31 off 29) but the target remained beyond their reach and they desponded to 181-7.

Pakistan had won the nerve-wreaking series-opener in Bangalore by five wickets.

India skipper MS Dhoni praised his bowlers for holding their nerves in the death overs.

“A lot depends on the youngsters bowling the last overs, I think they held their nerve nicely. they were feeling the pressure but they responded really well and executed the yorkers. When they wanted to bowl slower ones they did that,” said Dhon

Jamshed and Shehzad got the tourists off to a flamboyant start and galloped the total past 50 in just five overs but the introduction of spinner slowed down their progress.

The 74-run opening partnership ended with the dismissal of Jamshed, who was caught by Virat Kohli at deep off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin after hitting four boundaries and a six in his 32-ball knock.

Shehzad followed him in the next over when a missed attempt to go all the way off Yuvraj coming out of his crease allowed gloveman Dhoni to disturb his stumps.

After the back-to-back dismissals mounted pressure on Pakistan, Umar Akmal (24 off 17) and skipper Hafeez came to rescue the tourists and reduced the sky-scarping asking rate with some blistering shots.

The two batsmen plundered 58 runs off 39 balls to keep on track towards target but once seamer Ashok Dinda uprooted the stumps of Akmal, the tourists failed to find regain the momentum.

Shahid Afridi’s batting woes continued as he fell to Bhuvneshwar Kumar after hitting 11 off 5 balls with the help of a six and four.

Dinda then engraved the stamp on Indian victory by scalping Hafeez, whose knock was laced with half-dozen boundaries and three sixes, and Kamran Akmal (5) in the penultimate over.

Pakistan were needed 19 in the last over, bowled by Ishant Sharma, who though his tight line to concede just eight runs.

Earlier, Indian openers Gautam Gambhir (21 off 11) and Ajinkya Rahane (28 off 26) delivered the hosts a breezy 44-run opening stand before both fell to Umar Gul in quick-succession.

Virat Kohli (27 off 22) and Yuvraj started rebuilding the innings steadily and managed 35 runs off six overs before Kohli got run out in attempt to complete an inexistent double.

This time skipper Dhoni (33 off 27) came to join well-set Yuvraj and made the mockery of clueless Pakistani bowling attack with blazing hitting.

The two batsmen clobbered 97 runs for the fifth wicket before felling to Gul in the final over.

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