Pakistan prevail in gripping final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Pakistan win the Kitply Cup, beating India by 25 runs in the Mirpur final.

Updated: June 17, 2008 12:22 IST
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New Delhi:

MS Dhoni's young side began the Kitply Cup as favourites but they couldn't leave behind India's unfortunate history in one-day finals. Pakistan won the toss, put up a huge score and chiselled away at India's batting till they caved in.

India were 26 runs short of their target of 316, while Pakistan had three heroes: Umar Gul who took four precious wickets, Younis Khan who hit his way out of bad form with a 99-ball 108, and Salman Butt whose 129 was a record-equalling fifth hundred against India. It holds Pakistan in good stead for the Asia Cup, which begins ten days from now.

The first half of the game was an uncanny repeat of the Dhaka final played between these two teams ten years ago. Flat pitch, early wickets, twin hundreds, a double hundred stand (Butt and Khan added 205), 315 runs scored (Pakistan had scored 314 that day), and a hotly contested chase. What differed was the finish.

India made 316 that day, but today, they had few heroes. After Gautam Gambhir's typically brisk 40 and Yuvraj Singh's 56, Dhoni held one end up as wickets fell all around. In the end, 32 to get from 12 balls were too much for the India captain. With just Ishant Sharma to give him company, Dhoni holed out attempting a second six of the Shahid Afridi's last over.

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