India v Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy, Group A, Centurion September 26, 2009

How Pakistan's spinners won it

Stats analysis of Pakistan's 54-run win against India

In a match during which the fast bowlers from both teams went for plenty, the difference between the two teams was the performance of the spinners. Ashish Nehra, RP Singh and Ishant Sharma had combined figures of 7 for 153 in 27 overs, while Mohammad Aamer, Naved-ul-Hasan and Umar Gul managed 4 for 149 in 23. However, while Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi did superbly with the ball, taking 4 for 70 off 18.5 overs, Harbhajan Singh and Yusuf Pathan leaked 127 runs in 20 overs, and took just two wickets. In fact, Harbhajan's figures of 1 for 71 was consistent with his overall average in ODIs against Pakistan - 71.10. In 15 ODIs he has only taken ten wickets.

The difference was also the fact that Pakistan had a couple of batsmen who were just perfect to see off the Indian spinners in the middle overs. Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik worked the them around superbly during their 206-run partnership, which is the second-highest for Pakistan against India. The most fascinating aspect of the partnership was the manner in which they plundered boundaries square on the off side - of the 21 fours during their stand, an incredible 15 of them were scored in that region (see graphic). Malik was the major contributor, scoring 12 of those fours. The pair also scored a vast majority of their runs - 84 out of 206 - in that region, while only 28 were scored in the V between mid-on and mid-off.

The onslaught by the pair left India's spinners clueless. Harbhajan and Yusuf conceded 11 fours between them in 20 overs, which meant India never had the chance to put Pakistan under sustained pressure. Ajmal and Afridi, on the other hand, never allowed the Indian batsmen to get away - between them, they conceded only three fours. Most of the runs the Indians scored off them were only through singles - there were 50 of them.

Comparing the spinners from the two teams
Bowler Dots 1s 2s 4s 6s Balls Runs
Harbhajan Singh 25 30 4 6 0 60 71
Yusuf Pathan 21 32 2 5 0 60 56
Saeed Ajmal 32 18 2 2 0 53 31
Shahid Afridi 27 32 1 1 0 60 39

The major difference between the overall stats of the two teams is also the number of fours scored by them - 35 for Pakistan, and only 19 for India.

Break-up of Pakistan and India's innings
Team Dots 1s 2s 4s 6s
Pakistan 143 111 19 35 0
India 148 98 14 19 4

Comparing the run-rates of the two teams, India were well ahead of Pakistan for much of their innings. After 34 overs, when there was a mandatory ball change, India were 203 for 4 compared to Pakistan's 166 for 3. However, while Pakistan scored 136 off their last 16 overs (run rate 8.50), India fell away completely once Suresh Raina was dismissed in the 35th, scoring only 45 in the last 10.5 overs.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo