At Rawalpindi, March 16, 2004 (day/night). Pakistan won by 12 runs. Toss: Pakistan. One-day
international debut: R. R. Powar.
Once again, the hunters fell tantalisingly short in a high-scoring thriller, with India just failing
after needing 16 off the last two overs. Shahid Afridi, out of the Pakistan team for a year since
the World Cup, made a glorious comeback, spanking 80 from 58 balls and rattling up 138 in 19
overs with Yasir Hameed. And late hitting by Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Malik saw 50 runs flow
from the final five overs. In between, Nehra braved a swollen ankle to take two in two balls to
slow the tempo, then split the webbing of his fingers and had to be sent home. On a pitch that
he said became progressively slower, Tendulkar scored a superb century, India's first in a one-day
international in Pakistan, and became the first player to reach 13,000 one-day runs. But his
dismissal, sweeping to deep mid-wicket in the 39th over, galvanised the bowling; seven overs later
India slumped to 284 for eight when Shoaib Akhtar fired out two in two. The valiant hitting of
Balaji and debutant Ramesh Powar won the heart of Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, who
took tea with the Indians next day. It also kept India in the game until the penultimate over, when
Sami theatrically defeated last man Nehra's uncalculated swipe.
Man of the Match: S. R. Tendulkar.
© John Wisden & Co