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India's batting woes continued and with the exclusion of Ajinka Rahane in place of Sehwag, as the opening partnership didn't yield much once again. Opening bursts from Irfan and Junaid was a sight to be seen for fast bowling fans and the pair left India battered at 37 for 3 in 10 overs where Irfan picked up the wickets of Rahane and Gambhir while Junaid Khan once again took the scalp of his favorite bunny of the series; Virat Kohli. Once again, the middle order stumbled and Yuvraj, Raina and Dhoni trio did everything to guide the sinking Indian ship to a decent total. None of the three players reached a fifty but did contribute with scores of 23, 31 and 36 respectively. The spinners further damaged the Indian batting line and with Saeed Ajmal's five wicket haul, India were bowled out for 167 in 43.4 overs.
Pakistan again won the toss in the second 2nd T2OI and this time they decided to bat first. Skipper Hafeez has been a little short on the runs during the ODI series but this time he came with the will to score big. The very first ball of the Pakistan innings was dispatched for a boundary. Three boundaries were attained from the first six deliveries. Imran Nazir at the other end has been struggling to get to his usual self. He just can’t get used to this cautious batting style but needs to cut loose and go after the bowlers. This time he couldn’t do anything and was clean bowled for a duck on his second delivery by Starc. In came the in-form Nasir Jamshed and with Hafeez, the two formed a partnership of 76 runs. The second wicket fell at the score of 89 runs when Dane Christian took a spectacular catch of a loose Nasir Jamshed’ shot off Cummins’ bowling. Jamshed added 45 runs to the total with 4 fours and a six. 8 runs later, Hafeez departed as well for 45, caught Warner bowled by Watson. Kamran Akmal continued from where he had left in the first T20 and scored 43 not out with 6 boundaries. But lost Umar Akmal for 13 during the build-up off Christian’s bowling. Pakistan finished with 151 runs for 4 wickets in their allotted 20 overs.]]>
Pakistan won the toss and chose to field. Captain Muhammad Hafeez was more than just relying on his spinners and introduced himself into the attack in the beginning for the likes of David Warner. Shahid Afridi's injury cost Pakistan a key bowler but it paved the way for Raza Hassan's debut. Surprisingly, this was Nasir Jamshed's T20I debut as well and for Australia's Glenn Maxwell as well.
Mesut Özil is one of the brightest and most promising young players in the world these days known for his finnesse and innovative game along with a knack for providing strikers with perfect assists. He plays for the German national team and the Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid as an attacking midfielder.
Born on 15th October 1988, Özil is basically from Turkish descent. He came into limelight after the 2010 World Cup where he was nominated for the Golden Ball. He's been a member of the German Youth national team since 2006 and a member of the German national team since 2009. He joined Real Madrid in August 2010.
There's a lot more than just being a assist to Özil's game. He's crafty and calm in his play and knows where and whom to provide the ball for a goal. At times, Özil can perform as a striker as well and his goal against Ghana in the 2010 World Cup is a proof of that.
The Spaniards were on a roll as David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata all scored a piece. Clever passing and splendid assists from the midfield is Spain's trademark game, but to see it work so well and accurately was simply mind-blowing to witness. David Silva started the massacre as hit a flashing header from a desperate cross from Cesc Fabregas in the 14th minute. Italy were on the back coot from the beginning and were desperate for an equalizer. The chances they successfully created were meager and no match for the likes of skipper and goal keeper Iker Casillas.
Just before the end of the first half, Jordi Alba scored Spain's second off a brilliant assist by Xavi Hernandez in the 41st minute. As the first half finished one could easily tell that the trophy was Spain's unless the Italians came up with a brilliant response. But Spain had done their homework brilliantly, marking Mario Ballotelli from the start and containing Italy to provide any assist to him. Fernando Torres was substituted in the mid of second half and he gave his coach the response by scoring the third Spanish goal again off a clever through ball from Xavi Hernandez in the 84th minute. During the flurry of Spanish attacks, Antonio Cassano came up with the only aggressive shot from Italy making Iker Casillas stretch out for a desperate save. The last nail in the coffin for Italy was Juan Mata's goal who was on the field for no more than a minute but scored off a selfless assist from Toress just a couple of minutes later. 4-0 on the board and it looked like the Italians' dream journey was going to end in tears. The final whistle blew and the Spanish squad invaded the pitch filled with smiles and joy. Spain were the European champions yet again.
Mario Balotelli scored both goals for Italy in the first half and proved himself to be more than a potential striker for his country. The Manchester City forward was simply unstoppable as his knack for finding the back of the net brought Italy in to the final of the Euro 2012 where they'll be facing Spain. Mario Balotelli, now being nicknamed as 'Super Mario' after his brilliant performance tonight, got his first goal off a brilliant header from Cassano's cross at 22 minutes of the first half. Germany were in desperation to equal the difference, until Balloteli scored again at 39 minutes, this time getting on time to hold possession off a superb lofted through ball from Montolivo and finished it off in style with a powerful kick sending the ball flying to the top right corner of the post. Italy were 2-0 up and Germany at the end of first half were wondering, "What just happened?"
Balotelli got a yellow card for taking off his shirt while celebrating his second goal. Just as the second half began, Germany substituted Gomez and Podolski who were looking out of touch. The substitutions couldn't bore much fruit as the Germans couldn't get a proper finishing. Chances were created in both halves and during the first few minutes of the game, Khedira almost scored for Germany but Italian defenders were alert enough to stop Khedira. Mesut Ӧzil was the standout player from Germany but he too couldn't do enough to bring his team equal to the Italian score.]]>
After all the hype and intrigue about the result of the came, it wasn't much of surprise as Spain were hailed victorious. Ronaldo had his moments in the game but couldn't contribute where it mattered the most as the scoreline went 0-0 throughout the game. a series of free-kicks, clever passing and innovation in the penalty zone wasn't much for the Portuegesse to break through the Spanish defence. Portugal did manage to scare the Spain's defenders at times but skipper and goal keeper Casillas was more than a handful for the Portuegesse attackers.
Spain on the other hand have been short on the offence in the Euro 2012. They're clearly missing a striker and with the absense of David Villa, all the burden has fallen upon the shoulders of Fernando Torres, Casc Fabregas and David Silva. So far, they've been decent with their responsibilites as forwards but only because of the mid-field assistance. Tonight however, they were clearly lacking on the offence and finishing, as Iniesta at the end of second half missed a sure goal for Spain to achieve the much needed lead.]]>
Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. The opening partnership between Upul Tharanga and Dilshan last for 37 runs before Tharanga was caught behind off Sohail Tanvir's bowling for 18 runs. In came Sangakkara and Hafeez got him caught and bowled off 18 runs as well. Chandimal and Dilshan looked well settled until Chandimal got trapped LBW by Shahid Afridi for 32 runs. Mahela Jayawardane and Dilshan formed a formidable partnership of 86 runs during which Dilshan got to his 14th hundred and the second against Pakistan which included 14 fours and a six. Jayawardane was cleaned up by Ajmal but Dilshan remained not out at 119 while Perera's 24 run cameo kept him not out off just 22 runs. Sri Lanka finished their innings at 280-4, setting a big challenge for an already struggling Pakistani batting line up.