Pakistan clinch Kitply Cup
Centuries from Salman Butt and Younis Khan inspired Pakistan to a dramatic 25-run victory in the Kitply Cup final in Mirpur.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 14/06/08 7:55pm
Quick-fire centuries from Salman Butt and Younis Khan inspired Pakistan to a dramatic 25-run victory in the Kitply Cup final at Mirpur.
Butt smashed his fifth one-day international hundred against India, seventh in all, off just 121 balls before being forced to retire hurt for a sublime 129.
Fellow centurion Younis maintained the momentum with a majestic 108 to propel Pakistan to 315-3.
India didn't die wondering in their response, half-centuries from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh saw Gary Kirsten's men fall just 25 runs short of what would have been a remarkable victory.
After winning the toss captain Shoaib Malik had no hesitation in choosing to bat first hoping to set a mammoth target and force their arch-rivals to chase under lights.
Kamran Akmal (15) fell early for Pakistan after Irfan Pathan had found the Pakistan gloveman's outside edge and wicketkeeper Dhoni did the rest.
Together with classy left-hander Butt, Younis quickly set about pulverising the Indian attack to all parts of the Shere Bangla National Stadium - Piyush Chawla (0-85) receiving most of the punishment.
Skipper Dhoni continued to rotate his bowlers, but both Younis and Butt remained unfazed as they both passed 50 with relative ease.
Younis went on to make his 100 off 92 balls, however the classy number three made just eight more before he was caught by Virender Sehwag off the bowling of Ishant Sharma.
After Butt had been forced off the field, Misbah-ul-Haq (33 off 21 deliveries) chipped in with another cameo as Pakistan raced past the 300-run mark.
Sehwag had given India blistering starts in their two previous matches in the tournament, but he was dismissed for just two when a leading edge off the bowling of Sohail Tanvir flew to skipper Malik at mid-off.
India, however, bravely took up the run chase. Gautam Gambhir smashed 40 off only 33 deliveries, while Rohit Sharma (24), Yusuf Pathan (25) and Suresh Raina (24) failed to build on good starts.
Yuvraj kept India in contention despite the fall of wickets, powering to a half-century. His 56 came off just 59 deliveries and helped India consolidate.
His dismissal, however, signalled the end even as Dhoni fought valiantly on. The Indian skipper reached his 50 by lofting Tanvir for a six and then driving the same bowler for two.
He was the last man dismissed, for 64, attempting to hit Shahid Afridi over the top. Umar Gul was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers - his fine spell at the death saw him finish with figures of 4-57 from nine overs.