Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- India savours thrilling win over Pakistan

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 19:55 [IST]
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New Delhi:India savoured its sensational five-run win over Pakistan with most national newspapers devoting acres of coverage to the opening match in India's landmark tour of its top rival and neighbour.

Indian fans partied well into the early hours of Sunday following the dramatic run feast in Karachi and the resumption of cricketing ties between the two, who have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

"Karachi Captured," screamed the banner headline in The Times of India, subtitling its front-page report on the match -- which saw the highest ever number of runs ever scored in a One-day International, a total of 693 -- "India on Fire."

"Big Bang Beginning," The Indian Express read, even devoting two columns to what paceman Ashish Nehra's dog did while the player started to bowl the final over, denying Pakistan the nine runs the hosts then needed to beat India's 349.

The mass-circulation daily said the German Shepherd "stopped pacing to settle down quietly near a sofa, blinking" while his master bowled the crucial over to a capacity crowd of 33,000 people packed into Karachi's National Stadium.

"Run riot in Karachi, Pak (istan) Hurt," screamed the The Pioneer. It said Nehra's success had exorcised the humiliation of the last-ball, match-winning six smashed against India by Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad -- the current coach -- in 1986.

"Each time the sixer is brought up in conversation with an Indian cricket fan from this day on, the Karachi six that wasn't will be the riposte," said the otherwise conservative The Statesman in an euphoric page-one editorial.

Saturday's match in Karachi was the first of five One-dayers India will play during its 40-day tour of Pakistan.

The win dominated Indian television networks, with several replaying the highlights of the game and some interviewing relatives and friends of the Indian players in Pakistan.

"There was tension and so I kept on praying while my son played," said Krishna Devi, mother of Indian batsman Virender Sehwag, who hammered a rapid-fire 79 off 57 balls to lead India to their highest One-day total against Pakistan.

The parents of Nehra and One-day specialist Mohammad Kaif, who took a sensational catch to dismiss Pakistan's Shoaib Malik, were among a host of people interviewed by the networks for their reaction to the game.

"In our opinion it was Kaif and Nehra who clinched the game," Runu Goswamy, a fan from Kolkata, told a television network. "We could see the replays a million times," she gushed.

Kaif raced 20 metres (yards) and dived over Hemang Badani to clutch the ball of Malik's bat, while Nehra conceded just three runs in the final over.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee congratulated captain Sourav Ganguly and his team by phone after their thrilling victory.

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