FOR OVER 10 years Sharjah was the only place that India and Pakistan could play each other without setting off a chain reaction of civil disturbances. But times have changed and, if the supporters of both countries have become more even-tempered, the cricket has become more one-sided with Pakistan dominating recent encounters to the point where they now have a virtual monopoly on victory.
Yesterday's day-night match in Sharjah between the two did nothing to change that view. If anything, India were more embarrassingly outplayed than England were the previous evening, no mean feat considering England's performance was an all-time nadir.
The pattern of victory was not dissimilar either, with Pakistan hoisting another substantial total before intimidating their opponents with the pace of Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram.
At the moment, Shoaib is the talk of the competition. Like his lengthy run-up, his pace is electric and those who have faced him so far have spent more time hopping than batting. This time, although his opening spell yielded just one wicket, India could not get him away. After 15 overs, they were 43 for 2, some 36 runs light of their opponents' score at the same stage.
With Pakistan making 279 for 8, it was not an ideal start.Once Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja fell to successive balls from Azhar Mahmood to leave them ailing on 47 for 4, India's race was run. The absence of Sachin Tendulkar, recovering from injury, has left them bereft of confidence.
After winning the toss and batting for the second time in two days, Pakistan again played without inhibition. With Ijaz Ahmed following his century against England with a brutally struck 38, the bulk of the scoring was left to Inzamam, who made a fine 107 from 115 balls.
The burly Inzamam rarely looked flustered. Mind you, inner calm has not always been Inzi's strongest feature and in a meeting between these two sides in Toronto he took his bat to a spectator who had been calling him a "big potato" from the stands. However, judging from his innings yesterday new spud may just be the one we'll all come to like.
Pakistan won toss
Saeed Anwar run out 4
Shahid Afridi c Kumble b Prasad 28
Ijaz Ahmed lbw b Kumble 38
Inzamam-ul-Haq c Azharuddin
b Prasad 107
Yousuf Youhana b Srinath 57
Wasim Akram b Prasad 28
Moin Khan run out 0
Azhar Mahmood run out 0
Arshad Khan not out 0
Extras (b5 lb9 w1 nb2) 17
Total (for 8, 50 overs) 279
Fall: 1-11 2-56 3-94 4-234 5-272 6-279 7-279 8-279
Did not bat: Saqlain Mushtaq, Shoaib Akhtar.
Bowling: Srinath 10-1-44-1; Prasad 10-0-69-3; Kumble 10-0-31-1; Robin Singh 8-0-43-0; Joshi 9-0-58-0; Ganguly 3-0-20-0.
S Ramesh c Wasim b Shoaib Akhtar 10
S C Ganguly lbw b Saqlain Mushtaq 26
R Dravid c Ijaz Ahmed b Shahid Afridi 28
*M Azharuddin c Moin b Azhar Mahmood 1
A Jadeja lbw b Azhar Mahmood 0
R R Singh c Yousuf b Shahid Afridi 26
S B Joshi not out 38
N R Mongia not out 22
Extras (lb4, w5, nb3) 12
Total (for 6, 50 overs) 163
Did not bat: J Srinath, A Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad.
Fall: 1-27, 2-42, 3-47, 4-47, 5-98, 6-108.
Bowling: Wasim Akram 6-0-24-0; Shoaib Akhtar 6-2-12-1; Azhar Mahmood 10-0-20-2; Saqlain Mushtaq 10-1-37-1; Arshad Khan 10-0-31-0; Shahid Afridi 8-0-35-2.
Umpires: I Robinson (Zim) and D Hair (Aus).Reuse content