India v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur Openers, Younis get Pakistan to 329


50 overs Pakistan 329 for 6 (Hafeez 105, Jamshed 112, Younis 52) v India

 

It was billed as a contest between India’s batsmen and Pakistan’s bowlers. Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed ensured the pressure would be squarely on the former going into the chase, with a 224-run opening partnership – Pakistan’s second-highest in ODIs. After having failed to defend 289 against Bangladesh, India were once again let down by the inability of their bowlers to either strike or contain.

India had the opportunity to make first use of the Mirpur pitch, which has been harsher for bowlers in the evening, but Hafeez and Jamshed stroked boundaries at will, against a listless unit, on their way to centuries. Younis Khan, usually not one to worry attacks at the death, smashed 52 off 34 deliveries to lift Pakistan to their second-highest total against India.

India’s lack of penetration was evident when MS Dhoni threw the ball to Sachin Tendulkar in the 24th over, after having already tried seven bowlers. Five of them had already gone at more than run-a-ball by then, and none, barring Ashok Dinda, had come close to troubling the Pakistan openers.

To make it worse for India, Tendulkar had to leave the field in the 26th over after hurting his finger while trying to take a return-catch off Jamshed. The catch was dropped, and it was unclear whether Tendulkar would be able to bat in the chase.

The last time India’s batsmen were handed a 300-plus target, they got it in 36.4 overs. With Pakistan playing another quick bowler, Wahab Riaz, in place of Sarfraz Ahmed, and Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal waiting, a similar challenge confronts them this time.

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