Gwalior, Nov 15 (UNI) Mohammad Yousuf hit an unbeaten 99 to lead Pakistan to a competitive 255 for six against India in the fourth one-dayer at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium here today.
In a must-win game for his team, Yousuf, who scored 83 in the first one-dayer at Guwahati, came out with a big score to ensure that the formidable Indian batting line up has at least five runs per over to score for a win on a slow track, though he missed a well-deserved century.
His 99 came from came from 104 balls and was studded with seven hits to the boundary and two over it. In the process, he hit his 59th ODI fifty and tenth against India.
The Pakistan middle order batsman was involved in two valuable partnerships -- first a 63-run stand with vice-captain Younis Khan (68) for the third wicket and then a 94-run fifth wicket stand with Misbah-ul-Haq (40).
Coming in the 20th over after captain Shoaib Malik's fall, Yousuf first built up the Pakistani innings along with Younis after a shaky start and later anchored the innings by remaining not out till the end.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, Pakistan began on a disastrous note with last match centurion Salman Butt returning to the pavillion LBW RP Singh for a duck in the second ball of the innings.
Butt pushed himself forward but missed the line of the delivery that came in after pitching at the off stump.
After the jolt, captain Malik, who came out as opener, and his deputy Younis Khan went about for a quite repairing work, scoring mostly ones and twos. Their 30 runs from the first ten overs contained only two fours -- the first coming in the fourth over with Malik dispatching an Irfan pathan delivery to mid-wicket fence and the second by Younis off RP Singh in the seventh over.
Younis was though lucky as he was dropped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the fourth over off Pathan. The Pakistani vice-captain inside-edged an Irfan Pathan delivery but Dhoni who dived to his left failed to hold on to it. Pakistan were 13 for one then.
Indians had a vociferous appeal in the 15th over after Younis edged a Pathan full-pitched delivery towards Dhoni but umpire Amesih Saheba thought it did not carry and ruled so after consulting the square leg umpire Billy Doctrove.
Just as Pakistan was threatening to build a big partnership, Zaheer Khan got the breakthrough for India cleaning up Shoaib Malik in the 20th over for his 200th ODI wicket. The Pakistan second wicket partnership of 78 between Malik and Younis was raised from 115 balls. Malik made 31 from 55 balls with the help of three hits to the fence.
Yousuf came in and rotated strikes with Younis and the two senior most players raised 51 runs from 63 balls to take Pakistan score to 129 in the 30th over before Younis was out for 68 off Yuvaraj who took a return catch. Younis' 68 came from 89 balls with the help of one six and four fours.
Next batsman, Shahid Afridi, lasted just four balls and fell cheaply for four to Sourav Ganguly when Pakistan was 134 for four and with it India nailed a body blow to the visitors.
However, it was not all over for Pakistan with Yousuf sharing a 90-ball 94-run partnership with Misbah before the latter was clean-bolwed by Pathan trying a to chop a ball which came in from the off stump.
Misbah made 40 from 39 balls with the help of one six and two fours.
Sohail Tanvir was the sixth Pakistani batsman to be dismissed.
As soon as he came out and he top edged a Zaheer delivery to boundary over Dhoni. But next ball, Zaheer had the last laugh, trapping him LBW for six in the penultimate over.
Yousuf then hit a six in the penultimate ball of the innings but could run for only two in the last ball to miss a well-deserved century.
For the hosts, Zaheer took two for 20 from his ten overs while RP Singh, Pathan, Yuvraj and Sourav Ganguly chipping with one wicket each.
Earlier, India made one change in their playing XI, bringing in Virender Sehwag in place of Murali Kartik.