September 29, 2003

Emerging India get hammered yet again

Wisden CricInfo Ltd

Pakistan Emerging XI 137 (Pathan 4-22) beat India Emerging XI 100 (Masood 4-30) by 37 runs

The Indian Emerging XI batsmen put in their second limp batting performance in two days, sliding to a 37-run defeat against the Pakistan Emerging XI. Set a modest target of 138 for victory, the Indians failed to counter Pakistan's three-pronged medium-pace attack and were bundled out for just 100 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. This made it two successive losses for the Indian team.

As in the first match, there was just enough in the pitch to make the ball seam and swing, causing discomfort to the batsmen of both sides. While Pakistan lasted just 38.4 overs after being put in to bat, India managed 22.5 overs when it was their turn. Pakistan collected a bonus point along with their win and now jointly head the standings with Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka won the opening match of the tournament, defeating India by nine wickets on Saturday, and also picked up a bonus point along the way.

Baber Naeem, the opener for the Pakistan Emerging XI, top-scored with 34. He faced 75 balls and hit one boundary and his innings told the story of how difficult conditions were for the batsmen.

At one stage Pakistan were well placed at 67 for 1 in the 20th over, following a 46-run second-wicket partnership off eight overs between Naeem and Shahid Yousaf (19). But Irfan Pathan broke that stand and took two wickets off successive balls in his fifth over as Pakistan lost their last nine wickets for 70 runs. Pathan ended up taking 4 for 22 in a spell of nine overs. Aavishkar Salvi picked up 3 for 27 from seven overs.

India began poorly, losing two wickets off successive balls in the third over. Their batting was dismantled first by Fahad Masood, the eventual Man of the Match, who took the first four wickets for 30 runs in six overs. Yasir Arafat and Junaid Zia destroyed the rest of the batting sharing six wickets between them.

Naveed Anjum, the Pakistan coach, said that he hoped for a better pitch for the remaining matches in the tournament. "It was not a good one-day track. In the first 20-25 overs it is a real struggle for the batsmen. In the end it was an easy win. We were quite confident of defending a total of 137 because the pitch was seaming a lot," he said. Meanwhile, Lalchand Rajput, the Indian coach, said that the batting had let the side down. "I am really disappointed with our batting. The batsmen must apply themselves and show more determination. We should have got those 137 runs."