India vs Pak ODI: Itís over well before itís over


India vs Pak ODI: It wasn't until the 49th over that Pakistan chased down India's total of 227. Opener Nasir Jamshed, who made a match-winning unbeaten 101, would have been run out on seven had Bhuvneshwar Kumar hit the stumps from a few feet away. Later in the 33rd over, a few balls after Younis Khan had been dismissed, Jamshed (on 68 then) was dropped by Yuvraj Singh. In the 42nd over, with the window for an Indian comeback fast disappearing, Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Shoaib Malik, but had overstepped. For all that could have been, it can also be argued that India lost the match in the space of 36 balls, before 10 overs of the first innings were completed.

Mohammad Irfan's height, by various estimates, is between six-feet-nine inches and seven-feet-one inch. Whatever he might register on the scale, the consensus is that he dwarfs the Indian openers.

As Irfan sent down the first ball of the game, Virender Sehwag, standing at the non-striker's end, would have felt like a dinghy in the wake of an ocean liner. Looking up, he would have seen a length ball lodge into the mitts of Kamran Akmal a few inches from the wicket-keeper's face.

Some of the ball's doing could be down to the retained moisture in the wicket, sweating under the covers for at least a day before the game. But what you see is what you believe, and until it was too late, not one of the Indian batsmen dared put a decisive foot forward.

Junaid spot on

While Irfan got the ball to steeple with little coaxing, it was the other left-arm pacer, Junaid Khan, who was finding the more dangerous length on a wicket that offered early assistance. Hampered first by hesitant footwork, and then by the inability to judge which way Junaid Khan was getting the ball to move, India's top and middle order simply detonated, much like the stumps they left behind.

... contd.

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