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Akram does star turn for Pak - Ganguly

Written by: Saurav Ganguly
Published: Thursday, June 8, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
 
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What a victory for Pakistan! The Asia Cup final lived up to expectations. The match could have gone either way till Wasim Akram nailed the issue in Pakistan's favour with a couple of decisive blows.

That is what big match temperament is all about. Talking about temperament, no praise can be too big for Moin Khan for the manner in which he batted.

Pakistan were struggling at that stage and without Moin's belligerence and Inzy's big-hitting Pakistan would have ended up 20 to 30 runs short. It was a typical Moin innings, characterised by his unorthodox stroke play.

It was wonderful to see innovations of that sort. When someone bats the way Moin does, there is very little an opposing captain can do to stop the flow of runs because he simply can't set a field for him.

One can only hope the batsman will make a mistake and get out. Mistakes Moin made all right, not one, but two of them. In the end, Chaminda Vaas' error of judgment proved very costly.

It is never easy to judge a catch perfectly when the ball is hit that high and it is almost impossible under the lights. In hindsight, Vaas should have left it for Ramesh Kaluwitharana, who had almost reached the spot.

With his big gloves, Kaluwitharana would have had a better chance of latching on to it than other fielders. Sri Lanka's fielding let them down. I, for one, was surprised because they fielded so well against us.

You cannot drop so many catches and yet hope to win in international matches. Pakistan, on the other hand, with the likes of Imran Nazir and Shahid Afridi in their ranks, were sharp on the field.

A target of 278 was always going to be a tough one, especially when you are up against the best attack in the world. The Lankans did the right thing by promoting Kaluwitharana to open the innings.

The script could have been different had the wicket-keeper not been run out following a mix-up with his captain. Jayasuriya and Vaas did their best, but Aravinda looked out of sorts.

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