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Hafeez' crafty innings helps Pakistan beat India

Mohammad Hafeez gestures after his half-century AFP

A carefully crafted 75 from Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan narrowly beat India by just one wicket, with two balls remaining, in their Asia Cup encounter in Mirpur on Sunday.

Pakistan began the 246-run chase cautiously and openers Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad kept India's opening attack at bay.

The duo set a solid 71-run opening platform before Sharjeel departed for 25. Sharjeel's exit prompted a collapse of sorts as Pakistan quickly lost three more wickets with just 42 runs added to the score.

Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood then arrested the slide and began a period of risk-free accumulation of runs.

Pakistan's run rate had been excellent in the opening overs, which gave Hafeez room to breathe. The duo put on 87 runs for the fifth wicket and helped their side close in on India's target. Just as the target was in sight, Hafeez fell in the 44rd over and Maqsood followed an over later.

The pair had done the hard work but Pakistan were still 43-runs shy of the target. Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul then stepped into the fray and Afridi snatched victory in the last over with two massive sixes off R Ashwin.

"The way Pakistan won it pleased him. The management says they wanted him to be No.3 and he's happy to be performing," Hafeez said.

"Whenever there is a left-hander, he is happy to bowl. The captain asks him and he is happy to deliver. He had a chat with Maqsood about playing normally because the run-rate was not too daunting. And then Shahid Afridi finished it in the end. Want to dedicate the victory to the Pakistan people"