Dambulla: Batting first, Pakistan have managed to score a competitive total of 267 allout against India in the Asia Cup in Dambulla.
Opener Salman Butt was the highest scorer for Pakistan with 74 runs off 85 ball.
India did manage to claw back into the game after Pakistan openers Salman Butt and Imran Farhat had laid a good platform for Pakistan.
Once again the Indian spinners were instrumental for the Indian bowling side with Harbhajan Singh leading the pack and Jadeja managing to chip in at the other end and offering him good support.
Harbhajan Singh came in the bowling attack and bowled an excellent first over, almost managed to deceive Imran Farhat but the latter managed to survive his over.
However, Harbhajan managed to get the first breakthrough in the second over. He tossed the ball up to Farhat who looked tentative and just managed to edge it to slip. Shoaib Malik joined Butt and kept the score ticking for the Pakistan side. The duo were playing well and looking dangerous while the Indian bowlers had no answers.
Left-arm pacer, Zaheer Khan managed to break the partnership as he deceived Shoaib Malik with a straight delivery and castled his wicket. Shoaib's footwork was poor on that occasion.
The Pakistan score was 144/2 after Malik's dismissal in 29 overs. The duo of Shoaib Malik and Butt had put on a partnership of 73.
Soon after Malik's dismissal, in the very next over India managed to pick up another wicket. Dangerous Salman Butt who was batting on 74 was run out. An excellent fielding by Jadeja off his own bowling managed to run Butt short of his crease.
Youngster Umar Amin coming in ahead of Shahid Afridi didn't last long either. Harbhajan Singh managed to scalp his wicket caught by Virat Kholi.
In-form batsmen Shahid Afridi stepped onto the crease and started from where he left in his last innings. He was scoring at more than run-a-ball pace. He lofted Harbhajan Singh for a six and looked very dangerous for Pakistan. Another youngster, Umar Akmal who was batting at the other end scored 21 runs before he was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja.
Interestingly Pakistan were not taking their batting power play which was due, with Afridi in the crease and looking dangerous.
And soon to add to their misery, dangerous Afridi lost his wicket, trying to work the ball on the leg side off the bowling of Praveen Kumar. He was trapped leg before wicket(lbw). India in that period of play had managed to keep it tight and managed to contain the Pakistan batsmen.
Finally in the 45th over the powerplay was called for by the Pakistan batsmen in the crease.
However, with Pakistan batsmen looking to accelerate the score, Praveen Kumar struck in his first delivery of powerplay, with Razzaq going for the big swing only managing to edge the ball to Dhoni behind the stumps.
Kamran Akmal at the other end was running short of partners but he managed to clear a few balls out of the park to help lift the Pakistan total. He made a well-timed half century for the Pakistan side helping them cross the 250 run-mark before he was finally dismissed off a full toss delivery off Praveen Kumar. Kumar finished off with 3 wickets giving away 53 runs in his full quota off 10 overs.
Pakistan were eventually allout for 267 with 3 balls to spare.
Earlier, Openers Salman Butt and Imrhan Farhat had got Pakistan off to a cautious start after Afridi chose to bat first for Pakistan. The openers had managed to put 71 runs partnership for the first wicket.
Butt who has an excellent record against the Indians played smartly, dispatching the bad deliveries for boundaries and defending the good ones.
India will hoping to knock out Pakistan and make their place in the finals. After a fairly comprehensive win against Bangladesh, with 6-wickets margin and collecting a bonus point margin, India go into match with an advantage. The Indians will once again be banking on their spinners, who troubled the Bangladesh middle-order in their previous match. Gautam Gambhir scored a well made half century in the opening match and he would be hoping to give a good start against a formidable Pakistan bowling attack.
Pakistan with a do-or-die situation will surely come out hard against the Indians. They have to win against the Indians in order to stay in the match or else they are sure to be out of the Asia Cup as they have alreaded conceded defeat against the host nations Sri Lanka in their opening match.
Shahid Afridi scored a blistering century against the Lankans to bring them close to Sri Lankan target but the rest of the batting looked toothless against the mighty Sri Lankan attack who managed to hold on and win the encounter against the Pakistanis.
Akthar made a good international return against the Sri Lankan side in the opening match with his neat line and length. The Pakistan side would be hoping he continues on with his good form and manages to trouble the Indian top order who has problems facing rising deliveries initially.
G Gambhir, V Sehwag, V Kohli, RG Sharma, MS Dhoni (c), SK Raina, RA Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra
Imran Farhat, Salman Butt, Umar Amin, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi (c), Kamran Akmal (w), Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Aamer, Shoaib Akhtar, Saeed Ajmal