Cricket: Pathan powers India to thrilling win

A burst of powerful hitting by Yusuf Pathan spurred India to a thrilling two-wicket win in the third one-day international against South Africa at Newlands on Tuesday.

Chasing a target of 221, India were struggling at 93 for five before Pathan launched a savage assault against South African off-spinners Johan Botha and JP Duminy.

On a pitch where most batsmen found it difficult to play positive strokes, Pathan struck 59 off 50 balls as India took a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Pathan and Suresh Raina (37) put on 75 for the sixth wicket but both were out in quick succession to set up a tense finish.

Fast bowler Morne Morkel took 3-26 and fellow paceman Dale Steyn claimed 2-31 but could not stop India from getting home with 10 balls to spare.

Harbhajan Singh hit two sixes in a crucial 23 not out.

On an untypical Newlands pitch, South Africa struggled to 220 all out with newcomer Francois 'Faf' du Plessis and JP Duminy putting on 110 as they rescued a floundering innings.

Du Plessis made 60 and Duminy 52 on a pitch of inconsistent pace and bounce.

Zaheer Khan, with 3-43, and Singh led a superb Indian bowling performance, which was backed up by good fielding.

Khan repeatedly beat South African captain Graeme Smith with swing and movement off the pitch, although Smith survived to make a laboured 43 off 79 balls before falling to Harbhajan's off-spin.

Khan also took a spectacular diving catch in the outfield to dismiss De Villiers.

Harbhajan mesmerised the batsmen, taking 2-23 in nine overs, helped by two diving slip catches by Virat Kohli.

- AFP

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