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4th Super Six Match: India v Pakistan
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 8 June 1999

Pakistan restrict India to 227 for 6

MANCHESTER, Tuesday - Sachin Tendulkar has much to explain if his team's total of 227 for 6 wickets is topped by Pakistan and India were eliminated from the World Cup in their crucial Super Sixes clash played at Old Trafford here today.

India's prime batsman was on course for a big score when he played the most astonishing of shots to offer a simple catch to long off. Tendulkar came charging down the track in the 21st over when India virtually had the Pakistan attack by the scruff of its neck at 95 for one and lofted Azhar Mahmood to Saqlain Mushtaq at long-off. Weren't the Pakistanis delighted by that dismissal.

Tendulkar was out for 45 scored off 65 balls having hit five fours and Pakistan crawled back into the game by dismissing Ajay Jadeja for six, four overs later when the Indian vice-captain defended a sharp rising ball from Azhar Mahmood to slip where Inzamam-ul-Haq held a fine diving catch. However, in the process of taking the catch Inzamam injured his hand and was forced to go off the field. He didn't return and depending on the state of his injury he may not be able to bat in his usual position at no. 5.

The scoring rate which had increased to almost five an over after the loss of Sadagopan Ramesh's wicket at 37 (bowled playing across the line for 20), dropped drastically once more after Tendulkar's dismissal. Tendulkar and Dravid associated themselves in a second wicket stand of 58 off nine overs.

Dravid went to his fifty off 70 balls hitting four fours, before cover driving Wasim Akram uppishly for Shahid Afridi to pull off a good catch at extra cover. Dravid made 61 off 90 balls without adding any further boundaries to his half-century and, with captain Mohammed Azharuddin put on 51runs off 15 overs for the fourth wicket.

Robin Singh helped his captain add a further 60 runs for the sixth wicket off nine overs before he holed out to Akram at long on off Shoaib Akhtar.

Azharuddin with his career on the line, was not at his brilliant best but hung around for 77 balls to make 59 important runs for his side which included a six and three fours, before falling to a cut shot in the penultimate over.

Pakistan's ground fielding overall was patchy and there were several overthrows and misfields which the Indian batsmen made capital of, but their final total hardly presents a challenge to Pakistan's strong batting line-up, unless of course Inzamam, becomes incapacited and is unable to bat.

Prasad sends Pakistan crashing to defeat

'A band of wandering minstrels', that's how 'The Guardian' described the Pakistan cricket team. And that's how they've performed so far in the World Cup Super Six.

Yesterday's 47-run defeat by India in a vital match played at Wasim Akram's former home ground, Old Trafford (he played 11 seasons for Lancashire until last year) has placed Pakistan in a situation they would never haver dreamed of say a week ago.

Pakistan came into the Super Six with the maximum of four points, and supremely confident of making it to the semi-finals. But after defeats by South Africa (by three wickets) and now India, they find themselves in some danger of not making it to the last four. Like their Asian rivals, Pakistan go into their final Super Six game against Zimbabwe at the Oval on Friday, faced with a must-win situation. Following their 62-run defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in their final Group 'B' match, Pakistan have lost their last three matches on the trot in the competition, after recording four victories in the first four.

Is Wasim Akram's team which at one time seemed infallible, beginning to crack?

To India and its captain Mohammed Azharuddin, victory over Pakistan meant a lot. It kept alive their hopes of a berth in the World Cup semi-finals. They earned their first points in the Super Six and go into their final match against New Zealand at Trent Bridge on Saturday, knowing that there can be nothing short of a win if they are to progress any further in the tournament.

The win also proved India's continued success over Pakistan in World Cup matches. It was their third in as many games, the previous two being in 1992 (by 43 runs at Sydney) and 1996 (by 39 runs at Bangalore).

Yesterday's match was not only hotly contested, it was emotional as well, with thousands of flag-waving fans from both camps keeping the noise level decibels stretching to the limit.

India want to remain in the tournament as long as possible to keep their fanatic supporters back home happy lest they turn violent, while for their Asian neighbours, Pakistan there can be nothing less than winning the World Cup. Otherwise, they know the consequences that will follow especially if the betting scandal commission report is released which will expose some of the leading players in the present team. All that has been kept under wrap because of the World Cup.

Sachin Tendulkar may have done himself injustice when he played that astonishing stroke that led to his dismissal for 45 when he had looked good for a hundred. But the catch he held at long leg to dismiss Pakistan's most dangerous batsman, Moin Khan compensated for that rather reckless shot.

Upto that point, Pakistan had stood with a chance of beating India's total of 227 for 6 off 50 overs, because Moin in partnership with Inzamam-ul-Haq was threatening to take Pakistan to victory, being the dominant partner in a sixth wicket stand of 46 off 10 overs.

Moin flicked a rising delivery from Venkatesh Prasad to long leg where Tendulkar had only to move a few metres to his left to hold the catch. The delight in the Indian camp was indescribable. Moin's dismissal at 124 in the 35th over was the turning point and from there onwards it was a case of India wrapping it up despite the presence of a rather subdued Inzamam-ul-Haq, a batsman capable of turning the match around on his own. Handicapped by a finger injury sustained when he clung onto a fine low catch at slip to dismiss Ajay Jadeja, Inzamam was rather conspicuous in his batting taking 93 balls for his 41 runs which comprised only a solitary boundary.

After Moin's dismissal the Pakistani innings lasted only a further ten overs before they were bowled out for 180 to lose by 47 runs, a fine margin of victory for India who superbly defended their rather modest total.

India's match-winner was the much under rated fast bowler Prasad, who took a career best 5 for 27 off 9.3 overs to rout the Pakistanis. He was skilfully used by Azharuddin and apart from his first unsuccessful spell of one over, Prasad obliged his captain with wickets in each of the three later spells he was brought on, which included the final Pakistan wicket - that of Akram caught on the fence at deep square leg by Anil Kumble.

Prasad would not have been as effective had not he received the support of India's No. 1 bowler Javagal Srinath who proved an ideal foil capturing three for 37. The youngest of the fast trio Debashish Mohanty went unrewarded despite returning splendid figures of 10-2-31-0. Leg-spinner Anil Kumble claimed the other two.

India showed a great deal of purpose and were very positive in everything they did on the field. Pakistan looked like a top troupe who have slipped from the high wire.

Source: The Daily News