The first match of the five-match ODI series between India and Pakistan played at the National Stadium in Karachi as part of the ‘friendship’ series in 2004 set the tone for the remainder of the games in the series. It was a high-scoring contest, which went right into the last over.
India: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, (c)Rahul Dravid(k), Yuvraj Singh,Mohammad Kaif, Hemang Badani, Zaheer Khan Ashish Nehra, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Murali Kartik
Pakistan: Yasir Hameed, Imran Farhat, Yousuf Youhana, Inzamam-ul-Haq (c), Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Moin Khan (k), Shoaib Malik, Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar
A match neither side deserved to lose
Pakistan won the toss and chose to field. India got off to an excellent start courtesy Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. The openers added 69 innine overs before Tendulkar fell to Shoaib Akhtar for 28. India continued the good work in the form of another good partnership between Sehwag and skipper Sourav Ganguly. The duo scored runs at a fast clip and took the score to 142 before Sehwag’s breezy knock was ended by Naved-ul-Hasan. The Indian opener had done his job though, smashing 79 off 57 balls with the help of 14 fours and one six.
The best was yet to come for India. Rahul Dravid joined his skipper Ganguly and the two went about on their merry ways. Even after the Indian skipper departed for 45 off 47 balls, Dravid continued to pile on the runs. Although they lost Yuvraj Singh cheaply, Dravid and Mohammad Kaif featured in the partnership that took India to a massive score of 349. Dravid was unlucky to be bowled for 99, but he only showed what a team man he is, looking for quick runs. Kaif contributed a crucial 46 off 56 balls.
If India thought they could relax after putting up the mammoth score on board, they were absolutely wrong. Although Zaheer Khan and Laxmipathy Balaji combined to have Pakistan two down for 34, what followed was an excellent counter-attacking partnership between Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf (the Yousuf Youhanna). The experienced duo, who often took their side out of trouble, did the same once again. With the main bowlers unable to break the partnership, Ganguly turned to Sehwag, and the part-timer delivered, having Yousuf caught for 73 – an innings which featured five fours and four sixes.
As long as Inzamam was at the crease, Pakistan were in with a chance of winning. The skipper got excellent support from Younis Khan. However, after making a magnificent 122 off 102 balls, the Pakistan captain fell to Murali Kartik, caught by Dravid behind the wickets. Inzamam’s knock featured 12 fours and two sixes, and kept Pakistan in the hunt during the tense chase. After Younis fell for 46, Abdul Razzaq gave India a scare, smashing 27 from 16 balls. Kaif took that magnificent catch of Shoaib Malik as India held their nerve to win by five runs.
--By A Cricket Analyst