A spirited India clinched a sensational 10-run victory in a low-scoring thriller to avoid a series whitewash and restore some pride in the third and final cricket one-dayer against arch-rivals Pakistan here Sunday.
The Indians were first bundled out for a paltry 167 in 43.4 overs but relied on a brilliant bowling display under pressure to stop the visitors at 157 in a nerve-wracking day-night contest, held in extremely chilly and windy conditions.
Fortunes fluctuated from one team to the other till the very end before the hosts finally brought some cheer for their fans with the dramatic victory, which reduced their margin of defeat to 1—2 in the three-match series.
It was another poor batting display by the Indians who never really got going as the Pakistani pacers Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan caused early damages before Saeed Ajmal joined the party with a career-best effort of five for 24.
But the host bowlers made amends in the end to fashion the win.
The Pakistanis, chasing the small target, were in a spot of bother as pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar rocked the innings with the early dismissals of Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan, but the visitors recovered through a gritty partnership between captain Misbah-ul Haq (39) and Nasir Jamshed (34), who were the top contributors for Pakistan.
However, the Pakistan innings collapsed again, giving the hosts an opportunity to come back into the game.
A nearly fully-packed holiday crowd, defying the chilly winds which blew right through the day, turned up at the Feroze Shah Kotla and were lucky enough to see a change in India’s sliding fortunes.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (36), Suresh Raina (31) and Ravindra Jadeja (27) got the starts but could not translate those into big knocks, though the heavy wintry conditions made batting a little difficult.
India: 167 all out in 43.4 overs (Mahendra Singh Dhoni 36, Suresh Raina 31, Saeed Ajmal 5/24).
Pakistan: 157 all out in 48.5 overs (Misbah—ul—Haq 39; Ishant Sharma 3/36, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/31).
Nasir Jamshed lbw b Ashwin 34
Kamran Akmal lbw b Kumar 0
Younis Khan b Kumar 6
Misbah—ul—Haq c Rahane b Ashwin 39
Umar Akmal st Dhoni b Jadeja 25
Shoaib Malik lbw b Sharma 5
Mohd Hafeez c Yuvraj b Sharma 21
Umar Gul c Jadeja b Sharma 11
Saeed Ajmal c Dhoni b Ahmed 1
Junaid Khan run out 0
Mohammad Irfan not out 0
Extras: (LB—1 W—13 NB—1) 15
Total: (All out in 48.5 overs) 157
Fall of wickets: 1/3 2/14 3/61 4/113 5/119 6/125 7/144 8/145 9/145
Bowling: B Kumar 10—2—31—2, Shami Ahmed 9—4—23—1, Ishant Sharma 9.5—0—36—3, R Ashwin 10—1—47—2, R Jadeja 10—2—19—1.