Mirpur, Mar 2: India paid the price for costly blunders at crucial junctures to suffer a nerve-wracking one-wicket defeat at the hands of arch rivals Pakistan, who rode on Shahid Afridi's brilliant cameo to virtually assure themselves a berth in the final of the Asia Cup here tonight.
In a tense encounter where fortunes fluctuating from one team to other till very end saw Afridi the turn the game decisively in Pakistan's favour by hitting successive sixes in Ravichandran Ashwin's last over to overhaul India's modest total of 245.
Afridi, who has been very inconsistent with the bat hit the first six over deep extra cover and the next over long on as he scored 34 not out in only 18 balls with two fours and three sixes.
Dinesh Karthik's woeful work behind the stumps again cost India dearly as he missed the easiest of stumpings when Ashwin fired one down leg side with Sohaib Maqsood (38), then batting on 21 coming out of charge.
Karthik failed to gather the ball and missed the stumping with Pakistan on 167 for four. Mohammed Hafeez (75) and Maqsood added 87 runs for the fifth wicket and after IPL's new million dollar man Karthik fluffed his lines, they added another 37 runs which proved to be important in the context of the game.
From 200 for four, Pakistan slumped to 203 for six but then winners had couple of profitable couple of overs - 45th and 46th when Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar went for 13 runs each.
Hafeez for his all-round show (two for 34 and 75) rightly got the man of the match award. Hafeez's innings had three fours and two nicely hit sixes including a pulled one off Mohammed Shami's bowling.
With this defeat, India's chances of making it to the finals are all but dashed while a Pakistan versus Sri Lanka summit clash looks imminent.
India post 245/8
Half centuries from Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja helped India post 245/8 in 50 overs against Pakistan here Sunday in Game 6 of Asia Cup.
After a bright start in the opening 10 overs, India's batting stuttered and picked up in the final 10 with Jadeja's 49-ball 52 not out. In the last 10 overs, India scored 77.
Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal was the pick of the bowlers with 3/40 in 10 overs.
After having scored 60/2 in the first 10 overs of powerplay, Pakistan put the brakes on the scoring rate by taking wickets regularly.
The spin trio of Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi bowled very well. Also debutant paceman Mohammad Talha took two wickets in his impressive seven-over spell.
India were struggling at 155/5 in 36.1 overs when Rayudu (58, 62 balls, 4x4, 1x6) and Jadeja came together for a 59-run partnership. Jadeja made the most of a reprieve on 12 when Hafeez put down an easy catch. Also, Jadeja was lucky to have survived a close LBW appeal on 6.
Rayudu brought up his second ODI fifty and Jadeja, in his 100th ODI, reached to his 9th half century at more than run a ball.
The left-handed Jadeja hit four fours and two sixes in his 49-ball 52 not out.
Earlier, Rohit hit seven boundaries and two sixes on way to 56 off 58. This was Rohit's 22nd half century in ODIs.
Shikhar Dhawan (10) and captain Virat Kohli (5) fell cheaply. Ajinkya Rahane played 50 balls for his 23 but could not carry on.
Paceman Umar Gul was very expensive, conceding 60 runs for one wicket in 9 overs.
It was a day when Pakistan bowlers strangled India batsmen and will be happy to have kept them under 250.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and opted to field.
It is a virtual semi-final as whoever wins this contest is almost assured of a final spot.
For this key clash, India bolstered their spin department by bringing in Amit Mishra for Stuart Binny.
This is Ravindra Jadeja's 100th One Day International.
Pakistan also made a change, handing ODI debut to paceman Mohammad Talha in place of Anwar Ali.