Mohali, March 30: A fantastic spell of bowling from Wahab Riaz, who took 5/46, kept India to 260/9 in their 50 overs when initially it looked like the home side would have had enough momentum to cross 300. India got off to a good start with Sehwag blazing away for his 38 off 25 balls and Sachin holding the innings together with 85. The middle order underwent a semi-collapse before Dhoni (25) and Raina with an unbeaten 36, took India to their moderately competitive total of 260/9. (scorecard).
The final powerplay
India took their final batting powerplay with 6 overs left in the innings. Bhajji got Saeed Ajmal fine for four after which Raina struck Umar Gul for another couple of boundaries as India moved to 231/6 in 45.4 overs. Then Bhajji got Gul fine for a third four in the over. But in the next over, Ajmal had Harbhajan stumped for 12 with India at 236/7 in 46.4 over. Then Zaheer got Riaz away for a four with an unorthodox shot. Then Raina took a single off Gul to bring up India's 250. A late flourish took India to
The fall of Dhoni
Wahab Riaz returned for another destructive spell in the 42nd over, removing Dhoni with an lbw, for 25. India were delicately placed at 205/6 in 42 overs with Harbhajan Singh the new man in the middle. The runs had dried up as the Pakistani bowlers kept bowling very tightly.
Sachin, Dhoni fight back
After crossing 150, Sachin and MS Dhoni buckled down to keep the score-board ticking. The former was living like a cat with 9 lives as he was dropped again, this time by the keeper off Afridi. And a short while later got a similar reprieve off Hafeez's bowling when Umar Akmal put him down. India had moved along to 185/4 in 35 overs.
India lose Kohli and Yuvraj to Riaz
Almost immediately after India reached 141/3 in 25 overs, Pakistan seriously pegged them back through a burst from Wahab Riaz. The seamer first had Kohli caught at backward of point for 9 off 21 balls and then packed off Yuvraj by bowling him for a duck in successive deliveries. Pakistan were right back in the match. But Dhoni counter-attacked with a couple off fours to take India to 150 in the 27th over.
Sachin makes 50
The Little Master reached his half-century in the 22nd over when he struck Afridi for a four. The landmark would have no doubt come as a relief after he survived an array of close shaves, including a drop catch. Tendulkar then smacked Afridi for another boundary to round off he over as India climbed to 130/2 in 22 overs.
Sachin then retaliated, knocking two fours off Ajmal in the 15th over. In the following over, Gambhir took a single off Afridi to bring up India's 100 and the batting duo pressed on. But then Gambhir was stumped off Mohammad Hafeez for 27 as India slipped to 116/2 in 18.5 overs.
In the 6th over, first-change bowler Wahab Riaz trapped Sehwag plumb in front for 38 off 25 and India were 48/1 in 5.5 overs. India had lost a big gun against the run of play. Then the new batsman Gautam Gambhir, took a single off Gul to bring up India's 50 in just 6.2 overs.
The bowler was still having problems with his line, as he waas glanced away fine for four by Tendulkar in the next ball. After 7 overs, India were 57/1. Tendulkar had picked up from where Sehwag leftg off, carting Riaz away for two fours in the next over. India had scaled to 73/1 in 10 overs.
Close calls for Sachin
Off-break Saeed Ajmal had Tendulkar in a tight spot twice in the 11th over. First, it looked like he had the Little Master LBW, but the review showed the ball was missing leg stump and Tendulkar survived. Then three balls later, there was an appeal for his stumping which also turned out to be not out. Pakistan in the meanwhile had pulled back the scoring rate considerably.
Tendulkar got another life when in the 14th over, he was dropped by Misbah-ul-Haq at midwicket off Shahid Afridi. India were 90/1 in 14 overs.
India get off to blazing start
India's innings started in a blazing manner. In trademark fashion, Virender Sehwag got off the mark with a four off Umar Gul in the first over. But Abdul Razzak bowled a tight second over, giving away just 2 runs. However, in the following over, Sehwag clobbered Gul away for five boundaries as India raced to 27/0 in 3 overs.
Then in the fourth over, Sehwag carted Razzak for a four past mid on before Sachin Tendulkar struck his first boundary - a splendid cover-drive. Then Gul came in for some more punishment, getting smashed away from Sehwag for another four and then another!