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Dravid, Sehwag, Dhoni shine; India score 269 for 5

Written by: Staff
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Abu Dhabi, Apr 19: Virender Sehwag (73) got his mojo back and Rahul Dravid (92) led from the front as the top order finally struck form and India scored 269 for five in the second DLF Cup match against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here today.

Sehwag and Dravid gave India a brilliant start on a slow track and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (59) chipped in with a well-paced knock and towards the end, it was a dazzling 10-ball 24 by Yuvraj Singh that uppped the ante and India went past the 250-run mark.

After India won the toss, Sehwag, pencilled in at the expense of Robin Uthappa, and Dravid opened the innings and India had to wait full three overs for their first run.

It was a rare sight with Sehwag in the crease and still the bowlers, Mohammad Asif and Rana Naved-ul Hasan, escaping with three maiden overs in a row.

Out of form and dropped from the side in the last two one dayers, Sehwag went out in the middle with just two fifties in his last 21 one-day innings and it was almost a disaster again as he began, chopping an Asif delivery almost onto his stumps.

And it was rather surprising to see Dravid, otherwise his composed self, being hit in the helmet by Asif on a slow pitch.

Just when another top order debacle seemed imminent, both the batsmen opened up and seemed at home with the nature of the pitch even though the ball was not coming onto the bat.

Sehwag soon grew in confidence and drove Asif twice to the boundary and was his usual self. The swashbuckling opener played a delicate late cut off Iftikhar Anjum to show his class and then drove the bowler for his second successive four of the over.

Dravid, on the other hand, played some wristy strokes and was harsh on anything on his pads. He found the gap almost at will and hit Rana Naved for two boundaries in an over. Once he completed his fifty, Sehwag broke loose and spanked Abdul Razzaq over long on for a six. Shahid Afridi finally cut short Sehwag's stay just when things threatened to go out of hands and it was a gem of a delivery that turned and bounced to beat Sehwag all ends up before disturbing the woodwork. India lost their first wicket at 138 and Sehwag was a relieved man to have wriggled out of the bad patch with a 73-run knock off 83 balls and the bat was banging again, as underlined by 10 hits to the fence and a six.

India made its intention clear by throwing in Dhoni and the flamboyant swashbuckler started well, straight driving Iftikhar Anjum and then hitting Shoaib Malik for two boundaries but soon runs dried up and he had to curb his natural aggression.

Dravid looked good for another ton but perished while trying to step up. It was a full and angling in Asif delivery that sneaked under Dravid's bat and the Indian captain was out for a sedate 92 that came in 117 balls and included 10 boundaries.

Dhoni departed in the next over castled by Rana Naved after making 59(71 balls, 5x4) but Yuvraj (24 off 10 balls) thrilled the stadium, hitting Asif for three consecutive fours and then hoicking the next for a six.

Rana Naved brought the blitzkrieg to an end with Asif taking the catch and India finished with 269 for five with Suresh Raina (6) getting run out in the final delivery.

UNI

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