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Pakistan v India, Super Four, Asia Cup, Karachi
Ian Chappell: Pakistan's bowlers were the heroes
July 2, 2008
Pakistan played well in what was a must-win game for them and they can thank Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq
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Ian Chappell: "Younis Khan played with a cool head and guided Pakistan till the end" © AFP

Ian Chappell: In a game that they had to win, Pakistan did remarkably well. They seem to be at their best when things are in chaos because coming in to the game India were favourites and Pakistan seemed to be out of the competition. But in a match that was well and truly dominated by the batsmen, you expected that there would be one or two heroes among the bowlers and that is exactly what happened for Pakistan.

India got away to a flying start thanks to [Gautam] Gambhir and Virender Sehwag belting the bowling everywhere. But suddenly three quick wickets and [they were struggling]. Abdur Rauf has to take a lot of credit for getting Pakistan back into the game with his couple of wickets; Iftikhar Anjum, who had taken a pounding earlier on, recovered and picked up three wickets; and a lot of credit must go to the offspinner - Saeed Ajmal - who bowled some late overs and bowled particularly well. He only got the one wicket, but he pegged the batsmen just enough.

India finished up scoring 308 thanks to their skipper [Mahendra Singh] Dhoni who guided them through the middle overs. He got some help from Rohit Sharma and then a late flurry [of runs] from Irfan Pathan, [who is] back in the side after recovering from an injury. It looked as though 308 would be plenty, even though the pitch was very good. But Pakistan seemed to be in disarray and it looked as though 308 would be enough.

Pakistan themselves got away to a flying start. Salman Butt played well - he was eventually run out. Nasir Jamshed, the young opener, produced a half-century before he had to retire hurt with a bit of exhaustion and cramps. Then the cool head of Younis Khan guided Pakistan right through to the end. He got a century - 123 not out with 11 fours and a six in a 117 balls. He paced the innings perfectly and he had terrific support from Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah was captaining the side in the absence of Shoaib Malik. Malik was exhausted - he did a fitness test before the game and he could only get through a minute or two of not too much exertion and he was flat on his back. So Misbah did a good job as captain; he saw Pakistan home by hitting the winning runs. Pakistan got home with four-and-a-half overs to spare. That improves their [net] run-rate. The two points [from this match] have at least given them a chance in the tournament. Now they will well and truly be barracking for Sri Lanka in the game against India [tomorrow] because they need to peg India back to four points and then beat Bangladesh by quite a bit.

But with a fighting performance, Pakistan have kept their chances in the Asia Cup open. They can thank Younis and Misbah who followed after the good performances of their bowlers.

So Pakistan have picked up their first points in the later stages of the tournament and they will now be hoping for a victory from Sri Lanka.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is a cricket commentator for Channel Nine, and a columnist

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