Asia Cup: Pak defeat India by 59 runs

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sachin Tendulkar scored yet another half century, but still could not steer India to victory in the crucial Asia Cup Super League match against Pakistan.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Sachin Tendulkar scored yet another half century, but still could not steer India to victory in the crucial Asia Cup Super League match against Pakistan at Colombo's Premadasa Stadium tonight. Chasing 301 for victory, the Indians could manage to score only 241 runs for the loss of eight wickets, falling short of the Pakistani total by 59 runs. Shoaib Malik was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match for his 143 and two-wicket haul. But the good news for India is that they got the bonus point, which puts them in the reckoning for a place in the finals. The Indians now need to defeat hosts Sri Lanka with maximum points on Tuesday to edge out Pakistan from the final of the six-nation tournament. Disastrous start The Indians got off to a disastrous start, losing the wicket of Virender Sehwag in the second over of their innings. Sehwag's dismissal brought in skipper Sourav Ganguly, who hit some lusty blows to ease the pressure on India. He put on 62 runs for the second wicket along with master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. The two batted aggressively, raising 50 runs in the eighth over. But Ganguly was bowled by paceman Mohammad Sami in the 13th over after he made a threatening 39. Vice captain Rahul Dravid then joined Tendulkar in the middle but did not last long. He was trapped leg before wicket by medium pacer Abdul Razzaq for five to leave India precariously placed at 94 for three. Yuvraj Singh then resurrected the Indian innings along with Tendulkar, but his dismissal in the 25th over followed by Mohammad Kaif's needless run out dispelled hopes of an unlikely victory. It was as good as over for India after Sachin Tendulkar departed for 78, caught by Nazir off the bowling of Malik. After that, it was left to the tail enders to ensure that India cross the 240-mark and get that all important bonus point. Malik hits ton Earlier, Shoaib Malik scored a stylish century that helped for Pakistan reach the mammoth total of 300 for nine after skipper Inzamam-ul Haq won the toss and elected to bat. At one time, Pakistanis looked like getting close to a score of 330 as they raced to 100 runs in 17 overs and reached the 200-run mark in the 35th over itself. But the Indians managed to put a brake to the aggressive Pakistani batting at the fag end of the innings to restrict them to 300 for nine. Besides Malik, Inzamam and Yousuf Youhanna were the other notable contributors to the score. While Inzamam scored a flamboyant 34, Youhanna made a quickfire 29 off 28 balls before being sent back by Anil Kumble. Irfan Pathan and Sachin Tendulkar took three wickets apiece as Pakistani lower order crumbled towards the end of their innings. Five bowlers India went into the day-night match with five specialist bowlers including two spinners in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh while leaving out middle-order batsman VVS Laxman. Pakistan fielded the same eleven, which lost to Sri Lanka in a Super League match earlier this week.

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