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Images: India vs Pakistan, Champions Trophy

Last updated on: September 27, 2009 

Image: Harbhajan Singh takes the catch to dismiss Imran Nazir
Photographs: Reuters

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first on a batsman friendly track.

They started off beautifully, with Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal compiling 28 runs in four overs.

However, it didn't take much time for India to find the breakthrough and Nehra struck in the fifth over. Nazir, the dominant of the two openers, was threatening to make a big score, but perished after mishitting a short ball.

Nazir (20 off 17 deliveries) went to play a pull shot but only managed to top-edge the ball to Harbhajan at mid-on.

Nehra comes to the party

Image: Kamran Akmal is bowled by Ashish Nehra
Photographs: Reuters

Pacer Ashish Nehra has improved since his comeback. And he is continuing to impress.

After picking Nazir, Nehra was picked for a few fours by Kamran Akmal. But some controlled bowling from Nehra meant that he would get his revenge. In the 9th over, Kamran Akmal (19 off 22 deliveries) tried to play across but only succeeded in dragging the ball on to the stumps.

Malik, Yousuf control innings

Image: Shoaib Malik
Photographs: Reuters

When Kamran Akmal fell in the ninth over, there was a lull in the middle of the Pakistani innings.

Younis Khan started well when he joined Akmal on the crease, striking two early boundaries, but the runs started to dry up after the fall of Akmal's wicket.

The Pakistani skipper was then joined by Shoaib Malik, who looked tentative on his arrival at the crease. He took 13 deliveries to get off the mark.

Throwing caution to the wind,  both batsman settled for singles and twos.

Then came the only time in the match that RP Singh looked effective.

In the 15th over, RP Singh decided to come around the wicket to Younis Khan. The ploy worked. Younis went fishing for the ball on the off side, only to hand Mahindra Singh Dhoni a simple catch. Younis looked sublime in his short stint at the crease.

The pressure was now on Shoaib Malik. However, he kept his cool and along with Mohammad Yousuf stitched up a long partnership.

Dhoni decided brought in his part-time bowlers in Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan, hoping to do further damage. But Kohli was inconstent and was treated with disdain by the batsman.   

Malik and Yousuf kept moving the strike around, and completed their half centuries. From the 35th over onwards, they struck a boundary in each over to compliment the singles and twos.

Just as Pakistan were looking to post a huge target, Yousuf  was bowled by Nehra in the 46th over.



Malik goes hammer and ton

Image: Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf
Photographs: Reuters

Yousuf stitched up a partnership of 206 runs with Malik before being dismissed.

Later, Malik got to his century in the 42nd over, and in the process went on to complete 5000 runs in ODIs.

Malik's presence at the other end of the crease provided good moral support to Shahid Afridi who went on the rampage at the death of the innings.

But the Indian bowlers, Harbhajan Singh in particular, put the breaks on the late Pakistani onslaught.

Malik was eventually dismissed in the 49th over by Harbhajan Singh. But he had done enough damage and helped the Pakistanis pile up a total of 302/9.

Sachin dismissed early

Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Reuters

With India needing 303 for victory, a lot was expected of Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar started with four in the second over itself but that was to be the only boundary from the master batsman.

He was soon dismaissed caught behind off Pakistani paceman Mohammad Aamer for 8 runs.

Gambhir shines with half-century

Image: Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: Reuters

Gautam Gambhir, who missed out on the Lanka tour with an injury, played himself into the match with ease.

Gambhir wasted no time in making his intent clear and played in his usual attacking style. He whipped all the bowlers and got to his fifty with a six off Umar Gul, before being run-out for 57.