Hard-hitting opening batsman Virender Sehwag scored 119 runs off 95 balls on Thursday as India defeated injury-hit Pakistan by six wickets in a high-scoring Asia Cup Group B match.
Sehwag hit 12 fours and five sixes in his ninth limited-overs century to help India make 301-4 in 42.1 overs. Sehwag's hundred overshadowed Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik's 125-run effort off 119 balls in Pakistan's total of 299-4 off its 50 overs. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (26 not out) hoisted Younis Khan for a big six to give India the victory, with Yuvraj Singh also getting48 off 47 balls.
Pakistan's bowling suffered when Malik developed cramps in his legs while scoring his first one-day century in two years, and paceman Umar Gul limped off the field with a side strain in the third over.
Misbah-ul-Haq took a stunning one handed catch in gully to dismiss Gautam Gambhir (12) off medium fast Rao Iftikhar (2-61) before Pakistan bowlers faced the onslaught of Sehwag and in-form Suresh Raina.
Both batsmen shared a match-winning 198-run second wicket stand off 149 balls as none of the second-string Pakistan bowlers could stop the flurry of boundaries.
Raina departed after playing a casual drive straight to covers to give Iftikhar his second wicket while Sehwag lofted Shahid Afridi (1-64) to deep long on after an explosive innings. Malik hit 16 fours and a six for his sixth limited-overs century third against India before having to retire hurt after the 40th over with the score at 219-1.
Mohammad Yousuf (30 off 20 balls) and Misbah-ul-Haq (31 not out) added late runs to bolster Pakistan's total.
Malik, who won the toss and elected to bat, combined with Salman Butt (35) to provide Pakistan with an ideal platform after beginning cautiously against medium fast bowlers Praveen Kumar and R.P. Singh. They put on 90 runs off 130 deliveries before leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (1-52) broke through in the 22nd over when Butt mistimed a short delivery and was neatly caught by Raina at midwicket. Younis Khan (59) and Malik then added a brisk 129 off 110 balls. Khan reached his half century off 53 balls with four boundaries, including two reverse-swept fours off spinner Yusuf Pathan. Sloppy Indian fielding twice let Malik off the hook in one Pathan over. Chawla misjudged a skier when Malik was on 116 and five runs later Gautam Gambhir could not hold a straightforward catch at deep midwicket.
Four runs later, after Malik went off the field, Raina brilliantly caught Khan to give some consolation to Pathan (1-52). Both teams had already qualified for the Super Four stage after beating Hong Kong the third team in their group. India now carried two crucial point in the Super Four stage with victory against Pakistan where both teams would meet Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in round robin league starting from Saturday.