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INDIANS HIT BACK IN STYLE

AHMEDABAD: India squared the two-match Twenty20 international series 1-1, beating Pakistan by 11 runs in the second encounter last night.

A career-best 72 by Yuvraj Singh, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match, helped India post a formidable 192 for five in 20 overs.

Pakistan managed 181 for seven in 20 overs after skipper Mohammed Hafeez top-scored with 55, his second consecutive half-century. Hafeez was declared Man-of- the-Series.

Put in, the Indian middle-order put on a sterling show and atoned for their dismal performance in the first Twenty20 in Bangalore.

Yuvraj smashed seven sixes and four fours during his 36-ball innings. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33), Ajinkya Rahane (28) and Virat Kohli (27) also came up with valuable knocks. Pakistan pacer Umar Gul picked up four for 37.

India pacer Ashok Dinda (3-36) bowled an excellent spell in the death overs to restrict Pakistan. Dinda picked up two wickets in the penultimate over giving away just eight runs when Pakistan needed 20 to win.

Pakistan got off to a good start with Nasir Jamshed (41) and Ahmed Shehzad (31) adding 74 runs for the first wicket.

The Pakistani top-order got good starts but none of the batsmen could go on to score a big innings.

Earlier, Gautam Gambhir (21) and Ajinkya Rahane (28) gave India a steady start with their 44-run stand for the first wicket.

Greeted

Unlike the first Twenty20, Pakistani opening bowlers Sohail Tanveer and Mohammed Irfan were wayward, prompting skipper Mohammed Hafeez to introduce pacer Umar Gul in the fifth over.

Gambhir greeted Gul with three consecutive fours before being trapped leg-before of the fifth ball. Gul removed Rahane in the next over, taking a good catch off his own bowling.

Yuvraj and Kohli were going strong with their 35-run stand for the third wicket but Kohli gifted away his wicket in the 12th over while attempting a needless single.

What followed next was a blitzkrieg by Yuvraj that left the Pakistanis hapless. Yuvraj and Dhoni were involved in a 97-run stand in just 7.2 overs and took India's score to a mammoth total.

Yuvraj's brilliant innings was ended by Gul with Shoaib Malik taking a good catch at long-off boundary.

Dhoni, who hit 33 off 23 balls, became Gul's fourth victim after he was clean bowled by a yorker in the final over.

"Yuvraj Singh's big hits at the death overs helped India score 10 runs in excess of what would have been expected," said skipper Dhoni after the match.

"Yuvi was at his best, those big sixes and fours really helped us in the end. We got 10 runs more than what we would have been happy with," added Dhoni.

Yuvraj creamed three sixes off Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal in the 19th over, which helped India post a competitive 192 for five.

Dhoni praised his bowlers for finding their 'mojo' just in the nick of time to restrict the arch-rivals to 181 for seven.

"A lot depends on the youngsters bowling the last overs, I think they held their nerve nicely. They were feeling the pressure but they responded really well and executed the yorkers. When they wanted to bowl slower ones they did that," he said.

Dhoni said Gambhir and Rahane laid a solid platform for the rest of the Indian batsmen with their 44-run opening stand.

"While batting we got off to a very good start from Gautam and Jinks. Overall it was a good competition between the two sides," he added.

Dhoni's counterpart, Hafeez blamed his bowlers for not following the basics right.

"When we were bowling, we didn't follow the basics, we bowled short of length," he said.



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