Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- India erupts with joy to celebrate victory

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 18:30 [IST]
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New Delhi:Cricket fans spilled over into India's streets and danced to drumbeats to celebrate their team's win over arch-rival Pakistan in the opening One-day match of the historic series.

Roads which had been deserted throughout the day as people were glued to their television sets came alive in spontaneous rejoicing as soon as the last ball was bowled in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Firecracker bursts mingled with shouts of "Long live India" and "Hip Hip Hurray" as traffic had to stop on many Indian city roads to give way to the joyful crowds.

"It was a tight game and luckily we scraped through to a victory. We cannot forget the memory of (Pakistani batsman) Javed Miandad's last ball six win in 1986 in Sharjah over India," said Dilip Goyal, a cricket fan in New Delhi.

India beat Pakistan by five runs in a high-scoring thriller on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match Limited Overs series. Pakistani batsman Moin Khan could not hit the last ball for six.

India will also play three Test matches after the Limited Overs series ends on March 24.

Large television screens were set up in restaurants and there was a carnival atmosphere because of the match, the Indian team's first full Test tour of Pakistan since 1989.

People rushed out of the pubs and restaurants, yelling in joy.

"As usual the India-Pakistan match was full of hard skips until the last bowl," said Santosh Mangaonkar, a Bombay advertising professional, who called the match a "virtual replica" of the 1986 Sharjah confrontation.

"We as spectators wondered whether Sharjah would be repeated today, but it didn't happen, and it's a pleasure to beat Pakistan on Pakistani soil after a long, long time," he said.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee congratulated the team by phone after their victory.

Vajpayee called manager Ratnakar Shetty's mobile phone from New Delhi to congratulate captain Sourav Ganguly soon after the match ended at the National stadium in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

"The Prime Minister called on my mobile and asked to speak to Sourav," Shetty said.

"He told Sourav that the entire country was proud of the team and hoped it would continue the good work for the rest of the tour."

In a dramatic run feast befitting the resumption of cricketing ties between the two rivals, Pakistan made 344 for eight in reply to India's 349 for seven.

Vajpayee had personally okayed the tour last month, overruling his own security agencies who wanted the visit to be put off till after the Indian general elections in April and May.

India, on their first full tour of Pakistan since 1989, will also play three Test matches after the Limited Overs series ends on March 24.

India ended a three-year ban on bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan last October following a thaw in diplomatic relations between the hostile neighbours.

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