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Pakistan seal series with emphatic win

Pakistan 303 for 8 (Malik 72, Inzamam 68, Youhana 50) beat India 144 (Arshad 3-33) by 159 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

A series which began so disappointingly for Pakistan ended in absolute delight as they thrashed India by 159 runs in the last one-day international, at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, to take the series 4-2. As they had done in at least two of the previous three matches, Pakistan completely outplayed India in this one: the batsmen took advantage of winning the toss, piling up 303 on a pitch which wasn't always conducive for strokeplay. Then, the bowlers and fielders struck repeatedly early in the piece, reducing India to 94 for 7, before they limped to 144.

As has happened for much of this series, it was a team effort by Pakistan, with almost every player doing his bit. Shahid Afridi's blistering 44 off 23 balls set the pace early in the day, while Shoaib Malik (72), Inzamam-ul-Haq (68) and the rest of the middle order ensured that a splendid start wasn't wasted. Naved-ul-Hasan and Iftikhar Anjum then showed superb control and discipline with the new ball, and the fielding was exceptional - Yousuf Youhana twice scored direct hits to dismiss Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh. It was all so good that Inzamam could afford to stay in the pavilion throughout the Indian innings, allowing Younis Khan to lead the team.

As at Kanpur, Afridi got the innings going at a scorching pace. There had been question-marks raised about the pitch before the match, but it was scarcely a bother for him. Ashish Nehra had missed the Kanpur match, but here he got a taste of the Afridi medicine in his very first over. The first ball missed the outside edge, but that was as good as it got for Nehra - the next three balls all vanished to the on-side boundaries for four, the fifth was hoicked over midwicket for six, and the last one was crashed through covers. Twenty-two came off that over, and the tone was set.

The Indians fought back well after that early massacre, but even after Afridi was dismissed, Malik and Youhana kept the momentum going adding 85 in just under 17 overs. Malik's contribution once again underlined his ability to bat sensibly at the No. 3 position, while Youhana's was another typically fluent knock.

Dravid kept plenty of fielders in the ring almost throughout the innings, but the batsmen were still skillful enough to find the gaps for singles or boundaries. The partnership finally ended through a dubious third-umpire decision, with Youhana being declared out even when replays suggested he had made it to the crease in time. That only brought Inzamam to the crease, and by the time he fell, to another dubious decision, this time by Jayaprakash, Pakistan had enough runs on the board.

Inzamam's innings was another high-quality, classy knock, displaying all his characteristic strengths - the deft touches in the gaps to rotate the strike, well-controlled sweeps which spanned the arc between fine leg and midwicket, and powerful pulls and drives whenever the bowlers erred in length. In between the meaty blows, he ran excellently between the wickets as well, especially in the last few overs.

Teams have chased over 300 in one-dayers before, but on a pitch increasingly lacking in pace and bounce, it was always likely to be a tough ask. And so it proved, as all Indian batsmen struggled for timing. Virender Sehwag threatened briefly, striking three fours in his 21 before steering one from Naved-ul-Hasan straight to slip. Sehwag could have been out even earlier, when he chipped the third ball of the innings straight to cover. Fortunately for him, it was a no-ball.

Both Naved and Iftikhar Anjum were disciplined with the new ball, keeping it just a fraction short on the stumps and denying the batsmen the length and the width to free their arms. Tendulkar was done in by one such delivery which nipped back in and bowled him off his pads (36 for 2). Dravid and Mahendra Singh Dhoni resisted briefly, but once Youhana's direct hit found Dravid short of the crease, it was all downhill for India. Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni and Mohamamd Kaif all fell in the space of four overs, which was too much to take in for the Delhi crowd. They showed their displeasure by throwing bottles into the ground, forcing the players off the field. When play resumed, it was more of the same procession, and the match was over much before Nehra guided one to slip.

For Pakistan, it was an outstanding comeback in the series, and one which should go down as one of the best comebacks in an ODI series. The Indians had plenty riding on this match - it was their last chance to level the series, and it was the last match with John Wright doing coaching duties. The result, though, wasn't quite as they would have wanted it.

How they were out

Pakistan

Salman Butt c Sehwag b Zaheer 2 (28 for 1)
Edged one in the corridor and smartly taken by Sehwag low to his right at second slip

Shahid Afridi c Dhoni b Nehra 40 (68 for 2)
Slower one by Nehra angling away, thin nick gave Dhoni a regulation catch

Yousuf Youhana run-out (Tendulkar) 50 (153 for 3)
Called by the striker for a quick single behind the stumps. Replays showed he had made his ground

Shoaib Malik b Agarkar 72 (191 for 4)
Full-length delivery which swung in late, clipped the pad and then hit off stump

Younis Khan c & b Nehra 40 (282 for 5)
Leading edge while attempting to chip one to leg

Abdul Razzaq c Sehwag b Nehra 0 (282 for 6)
Hit a full-toss straight to long-on

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Dhoni b Agarkar 68 (294 for 7)
Given out caught-behind even though he had missed a wide one by a long way

Kamran Akmal b Agarkar 5 (303 for 8)
Moved outside off to tickle the ball to the leg side and missed

India

Virender Sehwag c Afridi b Naved 21 (31 for 1)
Tried to steer one to third man, but guided it to first slip instead

Sachin Tendulkar b Iftikhar 9 (36 for 2)
Beaten by one that nipped back and clipped the stumps off the pads

Rahul Dravid run-out (Youhana) 19 (64 for 3)
Pushed to mid-on and called for a run, but caught well short by Youhana's direct hit

Yuvraj Singh run-out (Youhana) 13 (84 for 4)
Sold a dummy by Dhoni, who called for a run and then changed his mind. Youhana's direct hit did the rest

Mahendra Singh Dhoni c Afridi b Arshad 24 (93 for 5)
Went down the pitch and played a lofted shot but found Afridi at wide long-on

Mohammad Kaif lbw b Razzaq 4 (94 for 6)
Rapped on the pad by one that nipped back and hit him in front of off stump

Dinesh Mongia c Younis b Arshad 0 (94 for 7)
Edged one that turned away to first slip

Agarkar c Youhana b Afridi 16 (129 for 8)
Pulled it straight to Youhana at long-on

Zaheer Khan c Younis b Arshad 7 (139 for 9)
Slogged one to short midwicket, where Younis picked off a fine low catch

Ashish Nehra c sub (Hafeez) b Afridi 1 (144 all out)
Edged a drive to slip

S Rajesh is assistant editor of Cricinfo.