Principal Correspondent

Karachi: His walk to the pitch is always a jaunty stride. Confident steps, shadow-playing of few shots and then a loud request to the umpire for fine-tuning his stance, have been his signature style.

Younis Khan has always been a picture of confidence and it was perfect that he was at the crease while anchoring Pakistan’s chase against his favourite rivals.

Younis’s unbeaten 123 (117b, 11x4, 1x6) guided Pakistan to an eight-wicket victory over India in a STAR Cricket Asia Cup semifinal league match at the National Stadium here on Wednesday.

Chasing India’s 308 for seven in 50 overs, Pakistan scored 309 for two in 45.3 overs. Pakistan gained two points and now needs to defeat Bangladesh on Friday while hoping that India loses to Sri Lanka on Thursday.

In that context when both Pakistan and India will be level on four points, the home side will qualify on the basis of having more victories in the semifinal league, according to the tournament officials who clarified late in the night.

Younis Khan’s fifth ODI hundred may have helped him carry the fans along with him through the night but the chase was initially helmed by the opening duo of Salman Butt (36) and Nasir Jamshed (53 retired hurt). Butt’s whiplash shots and Nasir’s audacious pulls that smacked of disdain, set a rollicking pace.

After carting Praveen Kumar’s first spell of three overs for 28 runs, Butt latched onto an errant Ishant Sharma and Nasir carted Irfan Pathan. And while Mohammad Yousuf missed out on the party, stand-in captain Misbah-ul-Haq remained unbeaten on 70 and shared an undefeated 144-run partnership with Younis.

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