The Preview - one day before the match.
Do you know that the first ever one day International between India and Pakistan was played at Quetta on 1st October in the year 1978. And hence the rivalry between these two cricketing nations kick started, as that match was won narrowly by India - by 4 runs.
Since then, there has been 106 ODI's between India and Pakistan and sadly, 63 has been won by Pakistan and only 39 by India with 4 having no result. The only good thing about India vs Pakistan one day matches from an Indian perspective is that we have won all the last four ODIs played, that too on Pakistan soil.
And now Team India will be playing Pakistan at Abu Dhabi - a cricket ground that is yet to host an International cricket match but is already tipped as one of the most beautiful grounds at any neutral country. Sheikh Zayed Stadium as it is called, it has facilities of floodlights and also indore practice pitches for players.
DLF Cup will be trophy that India and Pakistan will be playing this two one day match series, and do you know that the DLF CUP was made at Pink Sity - Jaipur and is of 45 Kg.
Indian captain Rahul Dravid is upbeat with his teams recent performance but feels that all the matches that we won in Pakistan were close ones and these two one dayers against Pakistan will be even closer. Here's what he has said.
As far as the pitch at Abu Dhabi ground is concerned - Its always been a batting paradise, as most of the UAE grounds are, but this India vs Pakistan 1st ODI may not see that many runs scored as the pitch as been under preparation for a very short time. Local matches were played on Zayed stadium lately and curator(although he promises fours and sixes) didn't had much time to prepare it.... anyways, India vs Pakistan is enough of thrill - be it because of big hits or big swings!!
Indian team had very little time to get settled after the 7th ODI against England at Indore and must be feeling rusty, but one thing in their favour is that they won't be short of match practice. As far as Pakistan is concerned - Injamam is talking about his players should finish off the games and not leave it to the next batsmen, as Indians are doing lately... lets see what happens tomorrow.
Now the 1st ODIs highlights..
Pakistan had played some matches on this Abu Dhabi pitch but as far as Indians were concerned, they were yet to forget England before this first one dayer in the DLF Cup came on their heads. Dravid did an expected thing by choosing to bat first after winning the toss - as normally captains ask opposition to bat first if the pitch is unknown to everyone.
The decision to bat first backfired a little as Uthappa struggled to time his shots on this slow wicket at Zayed Stadium. He scoped one to the mid - on and then Dravid was run out with the team total at 47 in the 14th over. Then Yuvraj followed which meant that Indian batting was on back foot. Pakistan had gained the initiative and Indians started to chase the game from them on..
The wicket was slowing down considerably as the ball was getting older and Indian batsmen - who had been scoring freely against a mediocre bowling of England, struggled against some good line and length from Pakistan seamers.
As Irfan started to get the measure of the wicket, he was also run out for a score of 26 and India falling to 72 for 4. In the 19th over. Suresh Raina was not joined in by Venu Gopal Rao - who, probably was playing for his spot in the Indian team. Both young batsman did struggle but managed to survive some crucial period. This meant that Indian still looked at a total of 230 odd runs, which surely looked like "a competitive total".
But that wasn't meant to be. Suresh Raina played an attacking shot in the 39th over and was hold out at the mid wicket boundary. And then India's last and biggest hope - Mahendra Singh Dhoni was brilliantly "yorked" by Shoaib Mallik. Result - India struggling very badly. Venu Gopal Rao did play some good shot, in between lots of "cluseless" shots, but he ended up becoming India's highest scorer - 61 off 93 balls. India - 197, all out off the last ball of their innings.
Pakistan started handsomely. Their openers, specially Imran Farhat looked in great form and timed the ball very well on a pitch that troubled nearly every batsmen. But wait a minute, there was a difference now. There were some, but very little due on Abu Dhabi ground now. This meant that ball started to skid on the wicket and shot making becomes relatively easy. I am not trying to take anything away from Farhat's batting, but new ball did comes lot early for him than it did for Indian batsmen in the afternoon.
Now the worst part - Younis Khan. I respect this Pakistani cricketer the most, but sadly, he is in some very good form, specially against our team. When he came out to bat, Pakistan were 40 for 1 and soon fell to 60 for 2, but this man stood like a rock. Younis Khan's innings was a smart one, here at Abu Dhabi in the 1st ODI. He started to play some attacking shots when Indians were trying desperately to get more wickets, and later settled down to make sure Pakistan wins the match.
Younis found a good partner in Captain Injamam ul Haq and their partnership took the game away from India. Injamam lost his wicket - trying to hit Ramesh Powar out of the ground as Powar had bowled very good but nagging line to Injamam for a long period now. Injamam wanted to get his revenge and was caught at long on. Then Mohammad Yousuf was caught behind off an "unplayable" delivery from Ajit Agarkar, but till then, the match was well and truly captured by Pakistan.
A Very satisfying win for Pakistan to say the least. A well earned win. The Score cards.
Here's all about live telecast of these matches and much more.
India goes to West Indies after Abu Dhabi Matches... know more.