Rohit Sharma shines as India beat Pakistan by nine wickets (Second Lead)

June 4th, 2009 - 3:21 am ICT by IANS  

Gautam Gambhir London, June 4 (IANS) Openers Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir put on 140 runs to help India pummel Pakistan by nine wickets in an ICC Twenty20 warmup tie that resembled a final in its festive look at the Oval cricket ground Wednesday.
Sharma, opening in place of Virender Sehwag, hit a brilliant and confident 80 off only 53 balls (9×4, 2×6) as defending world champions India took only 17 overs to score 159 for one, easily overhauling Pakistan’s 158 for six.

Gambir remained not out on 53 (47 balls, 5X4) to see India through to victory in the company of his skipper M.S. Dhoni, (nine runs, 2X4).

Playing before a stadium packed with delirious Indian and Pakistani supporters, India gave a masterly display of Twenty20 cricket - first restricting what looked like a rampaging Pakistan side to 158 and then knocking up the winning runs with remarkable ease.

Earlier, captain Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq helped Pakistan put on 158 for six in a batting performance that began in marauding fashion but failed to live up to expectations.

Electing to bat before a nearly exclusively South Asian crowd, Pakistan began disastrously, losing opener Shahzaid Hasan for a duck to Praveen Kumar in the first over.

Spinner Harbhajan Singh dropped teenage batting sensation Ahmed Shehzad in the very next over off R.P. Singh before Shehzad (25 off 19 balls, 5 fours) and Kamran Akmal (19 off nine, 4 fours) began wreaking carnage on Kumar and Singh, hammering them to all corners of the Oval.

The men in blue then bounced back, to the delight of tens of thousands of supporters, and grabbed four quick wickets to leave Pakistan tottering on 63 for five before Younis Khan (32 off 32 balls) came up with a captain’s innings in the company of Misbah (37 off 30).

Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and P.P. Ojha took one wicket each for India, while Suresh Raina ran out Akmal.

India left out Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan, and Pakistan were without Salman Butt and Ifthikar Anjum in a 13-a-side game, where only 11 could field at any given time.

Brief scores:

Pakistan: 158 for six (Misbah-ul-Haq 37, Y. Khan 32, S. Ahmed 25, Y. Arafat 25, I. Sharma one for 11)

India: 159 for one (R. Sharma 80, G. Gambhir 53, M.S. Dhoni 9, Mohammad Aamer one for 18).

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