It was the last match in this 2006 series, it was on Sunday and above all, it was India vs Pakistan.... but still saw people not as exited about the match as they normally are..
The reason I can think is the lack of resistance from Pakistan... after winning the 1st ODI rather strangely, they lost the 2nd, the 3rd and the 4th match in a very unPakistani manner.. the fighting spirit was missing and but the time for this 5th and last ODI, nearly everyone had a gut feeling that India will again out smart Pakistan...so here is what happened in the 5th ODI at Karachi in 2006...
Rahul Dravid won the toss again and chose to field again.. it was not because of the pitch or weather, the decision was purely based on the way Team India has been winning...the last 13 wins for India had come batting second.. so Dravid had no hesitation to not to break the winning formula...
Pakistan Batting :
The Pitch had nothing.. but the confidence of Indian bowling was little too good for Pakistani top order... they had dropped the century maker in the 1st ODI - Salman Butt, probably to try Imran Farhat in a match that could not change the result of the series..
He was first to go as he miss hooked a Sreesanth ball and was caught at mid-on - the exact manner in which he was out in the 4th ODI...Then Kamran Akmal, then Shoaib Malik.. they all fell to some enthusiastic bowling from S Sreesanth. He was probably the first bowler in the series who looked to make batting tough..
Indians were playing a specialist spinner - Ramesh Powar. When he came on to bowl, Injamam was doing the repairing act of Pakistan Innings, but seeing an off spinner was little tough on him. He hit him for a six off the first ball he played from Powar, and tried to play the ball softly on the off side to sneak a single.. was trapped right in front and then started the long walk to the pavilion...
Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf made sure that they make some runs to give their bowlers a chance.. and they did little better than that.. a Score of 286 is always competitive..
Indian Batting :
Very confident one to say the least... India started with Ganbhir and Dravid, picking up runs when Pakistani bowlers bowled a bad ball, and defending good balls.. they showed the instinct of preserving wickets in the first few overs, rather than going for the bowling and using Power Plays..
When Gambhir was out, Captain Rahul Dravid and vice-Captain Yuvraj Singh played the responsible innings.. they played all the ground shots and proved their form by playing some brilliant drives as well.. specially Yuvvraj who was in some stunning form.. but let me repeat.. there were no risky shots.. all class..
And after Dravid's dismissal, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was sent. People may talk about how hard he hits the cricket balls, and the sixes that he hits, but believe me, he has a very smart head on his shoulders.. when he comes out to bat, he never plays the square drives or the late cuts to the third man.. coz those are risky when you first come to bat.. all he plays is with the straight bat.. and picks up single before he feel absolutely confident of hitting sixes..
Yuvraj and Dhoni took some quick runs between the wickets and showed that Pakistani fielding was down and out of the match.. one time, the target was 139 off 118 balls when Dravid was out, and after that Yuvraj started struggling with cramps, but there were no tension on these two young men from India to coast to the victory.. fairly easy chase to say the least.. we won with 3.1 overs remaining!!
India vs Pakistan - 5th ODI at Karachi - 2006 series- Score Card..
Important notes from the match :-
1) Tendulkar brought the Drinks for Dhoni and Yuvraj when they were batting together... It must be noted that Indians had just 14 players left in their squad for this last ODI and thus, Tendulkar doing the 12th man's duity was kind of obvious...
2) Both the Super Subs - Murali Kartik and Faisal Iqbal were unused.
3) I have seen Indians players wearing a white or black inners aboove their indian T-shirt, but when Yuvraj dropped his pants for some treatment on his thighs, he was wearing a inner there as well... how many inners if Greg Chappell making Indians players wear???
4) Yuvraj Singh is the highest run scorer in this series.. but do you know that he scored the highest number of runs ever made by any player in a 2 nations ODI series..
Yuvraj made 344 runs, while Richardson had made 321 runs in 1987-88 series against New Zealand.. then it was Dravid and then it was Dean Jones of Australia...