India in Pakistan / Features

Pakistan v India, 2nd ODI, Rawalpindi

India's opening salvo

Faced with a relatively gettable target of 266, India's opening combination ensured that there would be no early tremors in the dressing-room

On the Ball with S Rajesh

February 11, 2006

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Faced with a relatively gettable target of 266, India's opening combination of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar ensured that there would be no early tremors in the dressing-room. Yuvraj Singh may have top-scored with an unbeaten 82, but the win was set up the first-wicket stand of 105 in a mere 15 overs.

Sehwag has been under the cosh for his poor one-day form, but today he approached his knock just right. The first four overs were meant to gauge the pace and bounce of the track, as India managed only 12, of which Sehwag contributed six off 13. Then, it was time to open the floodgates, as Sehwag launched a vicious onslaught, slamming Rana Naved-ul-Hasan for 20 in the fifth over, including an audacious slapped six over third man.

The over-by-over graph shows just how the Indian openers pressed the accelerator after a circumspect start. What's also interesting is the way each batsman played second fiddle when the other was blazing away: from overs five to ten, Sehwag creamed 41 from 28 balls, while Tendulkar's contribution was a mere six from 12. Then, from the 11th over, Tendulkar took charge, with 31 from 20, while Sehwag cleverly looked to turn the strike over, scoring just seven from 11. It was the perfect start, and though both were dismissed in quick succession, they had done enough to ensure that there would be no hiccups.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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