Monday, Dec 29, 2003
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By S. Sabanayakan
Man of the match Dinesh Mongia sweeps to the fence. Photo: Sushanta Patronobsh.
Despite claims by India A skipper Hemang Badani earlier in the tournament that an India-Pakistan match was just another game, India seemed to have faltered to achieve what looked like a regulation victory after Pakistan A put on 97 in 22.2 overs.
With Mongia holding fort at one end, the cream of India A batting packed up like a seized engine against some enthusiastic Pakistan bowling in which Junaid Zia stood out. In fact, Zia was on hat-trick after removing Sanjay Bangar and Rohan Gavaskar in successive balls in his fourth over, he failed to nail wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra with a ball that was well off target.
Sairaj Bahutule showed enough gumption to stick around to help Mongia slowly but steadily ease the pressure and to take the team to victory by reaching 99 for six in 22.2 overs. Mongia remained unbeaten on 48 (61b, 3x4, 1x6) and Bahutule on 8. From 31 for no loss, India lost Gambhir, playing on left-handed pacer Muhammad Khalil to see his leg stump cartwheel. Mongia and Yuvraj Singh attacked the bowling well but the enterprising Punjab left-hander walked out against Muhammad Hafeez and was stumped. When Badani fell for no score after playing 11 balls, the pressure mounted before Zia made full use of the situation to bring India A literally down to knees.
Off-spinner Hafeez and left-spinner Mansoor Amjad did a pretty good job by giving little away in the middle overs and after the two pacers Abdur Rouf Khan and Muhammad Khalil proved expensive initially.
Afridi, choosing to bat first, began the batting collapse of Pakistan A with a mighty lofted shot off newcomer Siddharth Trivedi. Instead of gaining length, the ball gained height to enable Badani to run back almost 20 yards and complete a splendid catch. Only Bilal Asad and Amjad had the inclination to hang around and get some runs. Asad, who scored 23 in 29 balls with two fours, was the ninth man out. Bangar picked up three for 23 and Mongia and Bahutule shared four wickets. The two pacers had one each.
India finished the league with 18 points after it got five from today's win. Sri Lanka ended with 11 points, picking up one bonus point from yesterday's defeat at the hands of Pakistan. Pakistan earned a bonus today and logged with seven points to exit from the tournament.
"It was an allround failure of our side,'' blamed Afridi after his team failed to make it to the final. India A skipper Badani said batting failure was the cause of the team going through some anxious moments.
Pakistan A: S. Butt c Yuvraj b Bangar 21; S. Afridi c Badani b Trivedi 0; Amin-ur-Rehman b Patel 10; M. Hafeez c Patel b Mongia 5; F. Iqbal lbw b Mongia 10; Naveed Latif lbw b Bangar 1; Bilal Asad st Ratra b Bahutule 23; Mansoor Amjad (run out) 8; Muhammad Khalil c & b Bahutule 0; Junaid Zia c Gavaskar b Bangar 4; Abdur Rouf Khan (not out) 2. Extras (lb-5, nb-1, w-7): 13. Total (in 22.2 overs): 97.
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-27, 3-37, 4-50, 5-52, 6-56, 7-80, 8-85, 9-95.
India A bowling: Trivedi 3-0-19-1 (w-7), Patel 5-0-12-1 (nb-1), Bangar 4.2-0-23-3, Mongia 5-0-19-2, Sarandeep 2-0-10-0, Bahutule 3-0-9-2.
India A: Dinesh Mongia (not out) 48; Gautam Gambhir b Khalil 16; Yuvraj Singh st. Rehman b Hafeez 12; Hemang Badani lbw b Amjad 0; Sanjay Bangar b Zia 0; Rohan Gavaskar lbw b Zia 0; Ajay Ratra b Zia 2; Sairaj Bahutule (not out) 8. Extras (lb-3, w-10): 13. Total (for 6 wkts. in 22.2 overs): 99.
Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-52, 3-64, 4-65, 5-65, 6-69.
Pakistan A bowling: Khan 3-0-21-1 (w-1), Khalil 4.2-0-37-1 (w-9), Hafeez 5-0-16-1, Zia 5-0-12-3, Amjad 5-0-10-1.
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