Twelfth Match

India v Pakistan


At Birmingham, September 19. Pakistan won by three wickets. Pakistan 2 pts. Toss: Pakistan.

At last the tournament came alive as the one match-up in world cricket that can draw a oneday crowd any time, anywhere, filled Edgbaston with noisy fans who paid up to £150 for £35 tickets. The game gave them fair value: it was fraught with the sort of tension and momentumswings that low-scoring matches can sometimes inspire. After being put in, India's batsmen, so often the engine-room of their side, soon found themselves struggling at 28 for three, which became 106 for six in the 34th over. But an innings from Dravid which began in timid defiance and bloomed into belligerence - he held Shoaib Akhtar's fiery glares and occasionally told him where to get off - provided a gleam of hope, as did some joyous biffing by Agarkar. A total of 200 was defensible, and Pathan kept Indian hopes alive, swinging the ball with real control to reduce Pakistan to 27 for three. Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana, captain and vice-captain, steadied the ship with a stand of 75, but India kept chipping away and at 152 for six Asian pride was up for grabs. Enter Shahid Afridi, held back until No. 8, to thrash two mighty sixes and provide impetus for the final push. Youhana, composed and canny, hardly put a foot wrong throughout his innings, and eased Pakistan to victory with four balls to spare. India, meanwhile, had to cope with the humiliation of being dumped out of the competition by their arch-rivals, who in the space of two months had beaten them in Sri Lanka, Holland and now England.

Man of the Match: Yousuf Youhana. Attendance: 19,800.

© John Wisden & Co