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Temper, tantrum, tension

cricket Updated: Jun 20, 2010 23:48 IST
Bivabasu Kumar
Bivabasu Kumar
Hindustan Times
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Last over, India needs seven runs, Pakistan four wickets. Both are well matched, Mohammad Aamer will bowl the last over and Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh are the last set pair at the crease.

An India-Pakistan match coming this close is sure to get the adrenaline running. Mahendra Singh Dhoni captured the tension when he said later, “Our heart-rate was high”.

“When you require 10 odd runs off the last six balls and there’s only one specialist batsman with a lower-order player, different opinions emerge from the dressing room. “Some shout hit the ball here, some shout no that’s the area to target, and, you can realise everyone’s heart rate is up. The entire team wants to win and everyone seems to come out with a solution,” Dhoni said on Saturday.

“It is understood that every India-Pakistan tie is important and especially when it gives you an opportunity to qualify for the finals, it gathers a different dimension. The pressure was huge and I am happy that we are on the winning side. It would have been worse had we lost the match after such a nice performance,” Dhoni said.

Gautam Gambhir, not exactly a stranger to on-field verbal jousts, had a heated exchange with Kamran Akmal on Saturday. “The Champions Trophy loss was still fresh in our minds. So it was pay-back time,” said Gambhir later.

A contest between the two arch-rivals is rarely without action and Saturday night was no exception. The match had all the ingredients for a potboiler. There was pain, emotion, drama, heroics, suspense and a heady climax.

The match seemed to be tilting Pakistan’s way after Shoaib Malik removed Dhoni in the 43rd over. But a calculated innings from Raina brought India close to the finish. Raina’s run out jolted India in the last over, but a charged-up Harbhajan, who had a heated exchange with Shoaib Akhtar before umpire Billy Doctrove intervened, smote Aamer for a six to seal the game for India.

Shahid Afridi later played down the Gambhir-Akmal clash rather humorously: “The two share a lot of intimacy, love and friendship. They were exchanging pleasantries.” The defeat eliminated Pakistan and India’s next match against Sri Lanka will be a dress rehearsal before Thursday’s final.

Pak eye salvation in dead rubber

After Saturday’s loss, the one thing that is common to both Pakistan and Bangladesh is their lengthy losing streak.

Afridi’s men suffered their ninth straight loss and Bangladesh, too are desperate to end their marathon losing spree. Monday could bring salvation when the two teams square off in a dead rubber at the Rangiri Dambulla.

Pakistan-Bangladesh — Live on Neo Cricket from 2:30 pm