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India beat Windies in close encounter

PTI | Byhindustantimes.com, Colombo
Aug 10, 2005 07:44 PM IST

India have qualified for the final against Lanka to be held on Aug 9 at Colombo. Action Replay | Score

West Indies gave India a scare at the end, but eventually fell short chasing the stiff target of 263 runs by 7 runs in Colombo on Sunday.

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The last league encounter saw West Indies fight till the very end, thanks to two superb half centuries by Runako Morton (84) and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin (74*).

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India had earlier posted the massive target, riding on Yuvraj's man-of-the-match 110 and Kaif's superb 83 not out. Both the batsmen set up a huge 165-run stand to rescue the side after a yet another top-order collapse had reduced India to 51-3 in the 17th over.

India now join Sri Lanka in the final at Colombo, to be played under lights on August 9.
 

Yuvraj Singh ODI batting averages vs Windies
  M Runs HS Avg 100s 50s Wkt BB BAvg Ct
Overall 119 2736 139 29.10 2 17 32 4/6 37.78 43
vs WI 11 211 68 23.44 0 2 0 0 0 0

West Indies had started off confidently, with openers Marshall and Morton playing aggressive cricket from the word go.

The two openers adopted a unique strategy of charging down the wicket to unsettle the new-ball bowlers - Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan. The move worked well and the scoring rate was cruising at more than six runs per over in the 6th over. West Indies were 37 without loss.

However, Irfan in the very next over, let out a brute of an inswinger from his armour. The ball pitched on the middle came in sharply; Marshall was trapped leg before for 19 and West Indies were one down!

Pathan was breathing down the Windies batsmen's neck and was soon rewarded again by getting Sylvester Joseph to top edge a short ball towards mid-off. Harbhajan made no mistake and West Indies batting scorecard read 48/2 in 10 overs.

Zaheer Khan at the other end was bowling his heart out, but was unsuccessful. Dravid brought on Nehra to replace him.

Nehra immediately struck, getting Deonarine to play a bad shot. The batsman trying to clear the fielder at mid on, ended up lobbing the ball in the air into the safe hands of Kumble.

West Indies were in deep trouble now, with Nehra and Pathan among the wicket-takers.

Kumble joined that list with a straighter one doing the trick. The ball was full and hit Banks straight on the pad in front of the stumps. The umpire was convinced and finger went up.

West Indies were now 70/4 at the end of the over 16.

Smith, the next man in, decided to attack Kumble to unsettle him. Smith hammered 26 runs in just 12 balls with two sixes and two fours!

However, Kumble got his vengeance, with his straighter one doing the trick again! Smith was plumb in front swinging wildly across the line.

Next up, Powell, couldn't survive Kumble for too long. His googly clipped the inside edge of Powell's bat, going straight to Venugopal Rao at short fine leg.

West Indies were still going strong in terms of the run-rate. Runako Morton had registered his half-century at the other end in the 29th over, with Windies at 137/6. But losing wickets at regular intervals had made his effort devoid of impotence and of any consequential danger to the stiff Indian target.

Windies' wicketkeeper Ramdin replaced Powell and finally some sense was infused in the side's batting. Runako Morton wanted a partner who could stick to his guns at the other end and Ramdin provided him with exactly that.

Morton continued to linger on and grew bolder steadily; trying to up the tempo even further.

He raced on to 78 in the 38th over, with his partner well-placed at 36 not out. West Indies were now uncomfortably close to the target requiring just 75 off 72 balls.

But Ashish Nehra proved to be the thorn in the Windies flesh as Runako flicked straight to Dravid at midwicket, signaling the end of a fine innings under pressure.

Dravid jumped with joy as Morton walked back for 84 runs comprising six hits to the fence and one clearing it fully.

That was the wicket that India so desperately needed!

Tino Best, the next man in, returned to the pavilion pretty quickly. Best going for the big one, lost track of the ball; the ball ended up crashing into his woodwork. West Indies were eight down now for 228 at the end of the 46th over.

Meanwhile, Ramdin too reached his half-century off 65 balls, India were without doubt inching towards victory with Windies require another 39 runs with 2 wickets and 24 balls remaining.

Ramdin gave India a scare at the very end taking a lot of boundaries off Nehra, but the other partners Butler and Daren Powell deserted him.

In the end, target proved out to be too stiff. India won the match by 7 runs. Anil Kumble was the pick of the bowlers taking three for 38.

Yuvi, Kaif blitzkrieg made the day for India

Earlier, India rode on Yuvraj's stupendous 110 and Kaif's superb 83 not out to set West Indies a massive target of 263 runs in the last league engagement at the Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

Both the batsmen set up a huge 165-run stand to rescue the side after a yet another top-order collapse had reduced India to 51-3 in the 17th over. Dhoni's fireworks in the dying minutes further stiffened the target by pushing it past the 250-run mark.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the openers - Sehwag and Ganguly - got India to an incredibly tardy start, looking like 'cats on a hot tin roof'. Mediocre pacers, Deighton Butler and Darren Powell, who shared the new ball were made to look like McGrath and Gillespie.

Ganguly in the 4th over, got hit on the arm while fending off a short ball from Powell. His arm swelled up immediately and he had no option but to go back to the pavilion.

Laxman replaced Ganguly with score at 6/0 and immediately got off the mark with a crashing boundary.

Sehwag, on the other end looked patchy and woefully out-of-form. He survived numerous close LBW decisions and even had his off-stump uprooted by a good inswinging delivery by Butler, but it turned out to be a no-ball!

Laxman, unfortunately was not blessed with such good luck. He pushed tentatively to a delivery outside off-stump, only to get a faint edge to it. Ramdin dived low and pulled off a splendid catch, before hitting the ground.

Laxman was gone and India one down for 21 in the 6th over.

Sehwag joined Laxman just few balls later. A good length delivery, pitched in line, hit Sehwag trying to turn it away on the leg side. Butler was ecstatic as the umpire raised his finger.

India were staring down the barrel now!

With Sehwag and Laxman gone and Ganguly retired hurt, India were going down both in terms of run-rate and wickets.

Dravid and Yuvraj were the new batsmen on the crease, and decided to take the attack to the opposition.

The next few overs saw the run-rate rocketing high, with batters raining boundaries at will. Yuvraj was particularly fierce on Best and Butler, whipping them right, left and centre; reminiscent of NatWest series final.

At the 15th over mark, India had raced to a reasonable 49/2 at 3.5 runs per over; a considerable achievement since India were 24/2 in the 10th over, going at 2.4.

Just when things were starting to looking rosy, Omari Banks struck with his first ball getting Dravid to drive against the spin. The ball clipped the inside edge, rolling on to hit the stumps.

Dravid walked back to the pavilion, shaking his head in dismay.

Next man in, Kaif gave able support to Yuvraj, holding his end up. Yuvraj looked shaken with the 'Wall' crumbling beside him but nevertheless continued.

Mohammad Kaif ODI batting averages vs Windies
  M Runs HS Avg 100s 50s Wkt BB BAvg Ct
Overall 90 1926 111* 31.06 1 11 - - - 42
vs WI 11 133 31* 19.00 - - - - - 4

The run-rate took another beating though, plunging down yet again. India registered a meagre 84/3 at the half-way mark, but more importantly without losing any wicket.

At this stage, Yuvraj and Kaif sensed that they were being outplayed by the West Indies. What followed next was some unbelievable stuff dished by these two youngsters.

They ran like hell, showing desperation as their blade hit every ball. Yuvraj smacked fours with disdain, while Kaif concentrated on hitting into the gaps.

The tempo was feverish by the end of the 35th over. Yuvraj was riding along at 66 not out, getting his half-ton in just 57 balls while Kaif was inching towards it.

The partnership was already a hundred runs old and still going strong.

Yuvraj was playing out of his skin today, with not even a single miss-hit. Kaif too pitched in, scoring a few boundaries.

With no wicket to mellow the scoring rate, both went blazing along without fear. Kaif reached his fifty at the end of over 41. Yuvi, meanwhile was going 'hammer and tongs', taking a huge six.

He reached his third century, and his first against Windies, in the 45th over. A truly magnificent century!

However, after scoring his century, he was totally exhausted. His 'tired-looking' reverse sweep found Best at short third man. That was the end of Yuvi's finest innings; going for a mammoth 110 off 114 balls with eleven fours and one six!.

Dhoni, next up, joined in the party hitting two mammoth sixes and a cheeky four at the end of the innings.

India finished with 262/4, the biggest total of the tournament so far. At the end, Kaif was undefeated at 83 with six hits to the fence, while Dhoni was not out at 28 off just 13 balls!

Teams

India
Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid (capt), Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh,  Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra.

West Indies
Sylvester Joseph (capt), Xavier Marshall, Runako Morton, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Narsingh Deonariane, Dwayne Smith, Ricardo Powell, Daren Powell, Tino Best, Deighton Butler, Omari Banks.

 

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