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Younis guides Pakistan to victory

Written by: Staff
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ABU DHABI, Apr 18 (Reuters) A fluent unbeaten 71 from Younis Khan handed Pakistan a six-wicket victory over India today in the first of two one-day charity matches here.

Pakistan romped to victory with nine balls to spare after they had earlier dismissed India for 197 with the final delivery of their innings.

Kamran Akmal smashed a four to the fine leg fence to hit the winning runs off Shanthakumaran Sreesanth. Pakistan ended on 201 for four.

Today's victory would have gone some way towards easing Pakistan's 4-1 defeat in a one-day series by their rivals earlier this year.

Younis hit four fours and a six during his impressive 96-ball innings. He shared an 86-run stand for the third wicket with captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who chipped in with 40.

Just three days after completing a 5-1 series rout of England at home, the Indians were handed a reality check after they struggled to come to grips with the conditions at the Zayed Stadium.

Pakistan produced a disciplined bowling performance, with Shoaib Malik responsible for most of the damage. The all-rounder took three for 40.

Although Venugopal Rao top scored with an unbeaten 61 and Suresh Raina added 40, the rest of the team failed to get going and India suffered four run outs.

RUN OUTS Captain Rahul Dravid was the first to get run out for 20 while attempting to complete a second run and Irfan Pathan, who came in at number three, also suffered the same fate for 26 after being beaten by a direct throw from Naved-ul Hasan.

With India regularly losing wickets, Rao and Raina shared a stand of 64 for the fifth wicket to prevent their side from sliding to an even lower total.

The partnership was broken when Raina was caught by Iftikhar Anjum off Shahid Afridi. He hit three fours in his 67-ball knock.

Rao also hit three fours.

The innings ended in confusion with Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth run out off the final two balls.

The match, the first to be played in the United Arab Emirates in six years, also marked the opening of international cricket's newest venue, the 2.5 million dollar Zayed stadium which can accommodate 16,000 spectators.

The series is expected to raise 10 million dollars for earthquake relief and also marks the beginning of a new plan by the two teams to play regularly in neutral venues.

REUTERS SC PM0145

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