Champions Trophy: Youhana steers Pak to victory

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India crashed out of the ICC Champions Trophy as Pakistan got the better of a hard-fought match to make their way into the semi finals of the tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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India crashed out of the ICC Champions Trophy as Pakistan got the better of a hard-fought match to make their way into the semi-finals of the tournament. Needing 201 to win, Pakistan won the Group C league match by three wickets in 49.2 overs riding on a solid middle-order performance by captain Inzamam-ul Haq and in form batsman Yousuf Youhana. Pakistan will now meet Group B winners West Indies in the second semifinal at the Rose Bowl, Southampton, on Wednesday. Brilliant knock After bundling out India for a modest 200, the Pakistanis found themselves in the pit before Youhana produced an unbeaten 81 to steer them to victory with four balls to spare in a highly surcharged encounter between the bitter rivals, which stretched to the wire. Youhana was declared the man-of-the-match award. India raised hopes of a spirited fightback by reducing Pakistan to 127 for five before Youhana produce one of the best knocks of his career. Youhana twisted his ankle and batted with a runner in a courageous innings of 114 balls, which included five fours and a six. Pakistan made heavy weather of a small target of 201 before Shahid Afridi (25) clouted two sixes off Irfan Pathan in the 43rd over to pave way for the win. Steady partnership Earlier, Pakistan had slumped to 27 for 3 in the 11th over before skipper Inzamam-ul Haq (41) and Youhana put on 74 runs for the fourth wicket. Inzamam left at 102 for 4 when his cut off Ajit Agarkar went into the gloves of Rahul Dravid. While Moin Khan was brilliantly caught by Yuvraj Singh for just 10, Abdul Razzaq too couldn't stay at the wicket for long, getting out cheaply on nine. Pakistan soon were down to 152 for 6 and at one time required 45 from the last nine overs before Afridi, batting at number eight, played a cameo knock. Earlier, Irfan Pathan picked up three consecutive wickets. Pathan struck in the very first over and Pakistani opener Imran Farhat was caught behind by Rahul Dravid for a duck. Then Shoaib Malik, in Pathan's very next over, edged the ball to Rahul Dravid's gloves. Pathan came back a third time to haunt the Pakistanis and Yasir Hameed lobbed the ball, only to be caught by Ashish Nehra. Indian batsmen collapse Put to bat, the Indian batting order wilted under the aggressive Pakistan pace attack and the top order collapsed, while the Pakistani seamers made most of the damp conditions early on. But vice-captain Rahul Dravid rose to the occasion and waged a lone battle. With Agarkar for company at the other end, Dravid (67) pitched a lone battle to salvage the innings at a time when all hope seemed lost. Ajit Agarkar provided ample support to his vice-captain as he struck an enterprising 47 off 50 balls aided by three fours and a six on what appeared to be a good batting track. Coming together at 106 for six, Dravid and Agarkar added 82 runs for the eighth wicket to lead the Indian fightback, which saw 69 runs come in the last 10 overs. Disastrous start Pakistan struck in the very first over of the match and Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly fell, caught by Moin Khan off a Mohammed Sami delivery. Then newcomer Naved-ul-Rana picked up the prize wickets of Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman within the first ten overs. VVS Laxman lobbed a Naved delivery to Shoaib Malik in the fourth over, leaving India reeling at 10 for 2. Then it was the turn of Virender Sehwag in the 10th over who also went out in similar fashion. Shoaib Strikes Kaif, coming in at number four, seemed to carry his good form of the NatWest Challenge into the match as he played some confident shots. But Shoaib Akhtar soon joined the attack and Kaif nicked a Akhtar delivery with the outside edge and was caught behind by Moin Khan in the 20th over. Shoaib then struck again and the new man at the crease, Yuvraj Singh, was out in similar fashion for a duck. Then Rohan Gavaskar was caught behind by Moin Khan after nicking a Razzaq delivery. Agarkar added 47 valuable runs, hitting three boundaries and a six and for once, it seemed India had a chance to post a competitive total. But the tailenders failed to put up runs on the board and eventually India were bowled out. Teams:India: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Rohan Gavaskar, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Ajit Agarkar. Pakistan: Inzamam-ul Haq (captain), Imran Farhat, Yaseer Hameed, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Yousuf Youhana, Moin Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Naved-ul Rana. (With PTI inputs)

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