India make pulp of Pak in Karachi
Yuvraj and Dhoni displayed prowess as tourists crushed the hosts by 8 wickets and finished ODI series 4-1. ScorecardUpdated: Feb 20, 2006 02:22 IST
Wearing the cloak of majesty, Yuvraj Singh played an innings even his biggest enemy would admire. Not that he picks lesser mortals for a bout in the ring.
Ever since he made his debut with that 80-ball 84 against Steve Waugh's invincibles at Nairobi five years ago, Yuvraj has time and again won matches most could only dream of.
Chasing 287 in the fifth ODI at Karachi on Sunday, India reached home in 46.5 overs, ending the series at 4-1.
Cramps made him limp on Sunday, but Yuvraj carried on to score a hundred (107 not out, 93 balls, 14 fours) with such panache that it almost put MS Dhoni's four towering sixes in the shadows.
Dhoni (77 in 56 balls, 6 fours, 4 sixes) did play his part to perfection. His 146-run partnership for the third wicket with Yuvraj broke Pakistan's hopes of a consolation win.
Once Rahul Dravid (50 in 82 balls, 6 fours) was deceived by a slower ball from Mohammad Sami, the fastest Pakistani after Shoaib Akhtar, the battle became intense.
It wasn't Sami or the other Mohammad - Asif, but the duo of Iftikar Anjum and Yasir Arafat who hardly gave the width to these two free-flowing Indians to free their arm. The asking rate was climbing higher than eight runs per over.
The impossible asking run rate
Yuvraj kept his cool. So did Dhoni. Runs they were stealing and at times Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir (runner for Yuvraj) were converting ones into twos. And then they launched into an all out attack with Dhoni making six-hitting look the easiest thing on earth.
"The required rate was climbing all the time. But when you have Dhoni at the other end, you don't really feel the pressure. To me, Dhoni is the Man-of-the-Match and the Man-of-the-Series," said a smiling Yuvraj, who was recipient of both theawards.
Dhoni won't agree though. "I think it was Yuvi's master-knock that stole the match from Pakistan," he said. But one thing was sure that, like great fast bowlers, India's two young batsmen hunted in pair on Sunday.
Dravid, too, played an invaluable knock. In the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, he opened with Gambhir. Coupled with his strong defence, his immaculate strokes through the off side gave India the good platform that you need while chasing a target as big as 287.
9,000 for The Wall
Dravid also got past 9,000 runs in ODIs and in Gambhir (38 in 50 balls, 6 fours) he had someone who showed the skills to play strokes on both sides of the wicket.
The left-hander even stepped out to Asif and he also didn't allow Sami to get into rhythm. But the Delhi player failed to convert his start again when he was caught behind off Ifitkar Anjum while going for an extravagant shot.
Dravid was looking set to bat through the 50 overs, but Sami's slower ball forced him to give a low catch to Shoaib Malik at mid on.
First Published: Feb 19, 2006 09:41 IST