Inzy, Malik shape Pak last-ball win

Associated Press

Ahmedabad, April 12:

Pakistan rode on Shoaib Malik’s sparkling all-round performance on Tuesday to clinch a three-wicket victory off the last delivery in the fourth limited-overs international against India. The win leaves the six match limited-overs series level at 2-2 with two games remaining. Malik’s off-spin claimed a haul of three for 67 as India amassed a total of 315 for six from 48 overs, before he returned to smash a 65 as Pakistan coasted to 319 for seven on the final delivery of the 48th over, which skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq square-cut to the boundary. Pakistan was given a flying start by a rapid 68-run opening partnership between Salman Butt (48) and Shahid Afridi (40) before Malik’s run-a-ball knock placed it on the victory path. Man of the match Inzamam capped the innings with a captain’s knock of 60 not out. Malik struck just three boundaries during his two rousing partnerships. Malik put on 76 runs for the third wicket with Abdul Razzaq (44) and 80 for the fourth with Inzamam, who guided Pakistan home after Malik’s departure.

Pakistan needed three runs from the final over delivered by leg-spinner Sachin Tendulkar, but scored only two off five balls as Inzamam kept hitting straight to the fielders. He made amends by piercing the field with a fierce cut from the last ball that sped to the point fence, the last of his five boundaries from 59 deliveries. Malik made India pay dearly for his dropped catch on 32 — by Yuvraj Singh at point — but fell trying to loft Murali Kartik out of the ground and was caught by Laxmipathy Balaji at long-off. India’s daunting target was built around Tendulkar’s blazing 123, extending his one-day centuries record to 38 hundreds from 346 limited-overs internationals.

Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag (29) gave India a fine start through an opening partnership of 65 before Mahendra Dhoni (49) shared a 129-run stand for the second wicket with Tendulkar. Tendulkar moved into the 90s with his second six, a mighty heave against Danish Kaneria that landed on the head of a TV cameraman on the long-on boundary. The cameraman was taken from the ground for medical aid. Tendulkar was one short of the century when Dhoni was dismissed, after hitting one six and four boundaries from 65 balls. Ganguly ran himself out for 18. Tendulkar was bowled around his leg when he missed the ball trying to sweep Malik, who went on to have Rahul Dravid (19) caught by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.