Nehra bails India out of 'trademark collapse'
Auckland, January 11, 2003
First Published: 06:44 IST(11/1/2003)
Last Updated: 18:42 IST(11/1/2003)
A Virender Sehwag-inspired India ended an amazing New Zealand fightback with a one-wicket victory in the sixth one-day international here on Saturday.
India, needing 200 to win, were strongly placed at 182-3 before nearly squandering the advantage given by Sehwag who cracked a
robust 112 in the day-night match at Eden Park for his fifth century.
Sehwag's dismissal at 182 in the 42nd over triggered a dramatic collapse in which the tourists lost five wickets for 11 runs, including two in the 49th and last over bowled by seamer Andre Adams.
India needed four to win in the final over with three wickets in hand, but Adams bowled Mohammad Kaif and then ran Zaheer Khan out off a wide ball to raise his team's hopes of an unbelievable win.
Last-man Ashish Nehra then smashed the penultimate delivery for the winning single, much to the relief of India who were penalised one over for slow over-rate.
New Zealand, leading 4-2, had already clinched the seven-match series with victories in the first four games.
India owed their second successive win to Sehwag, who punished New Zealand for their fielding lapses as he smashed three sixes and 11 fours in his 139-ball knock.
India appeared to be enjoying their best day on the tour as their top-order batting clicked under lights, with Sehwag showing the way with a wide range of attacking shots before his team nearly messed it up.
A big disappointment for India was Sachin Tendulkar's second successive failure. The master batsman, who failed to score in the previous game, was caught behind off Daryl Tuffey for one.
Sehwag, 24, is the only batsman to score a hundred in the ongoing series. He has two to his credit, having made 108 in the second match at Napier.
The New Zealand seamers were under pressure for the first time after having dominated the Indian batsmen for more than a month as Sehwag exploded with a flurry of shots.
Sehwag put India on the right track as he added 70 for the opening wicket with skipper Sourav Ganguly (23) and 72 for the next with Rahul Dravid (21).
New Zealand's catching also left a lot to be desired.
Sehwag was on 35 when he uppishly drove seamer Kyle Mills, but Chris Harris failed to hold a head-high catch after having got his hands to it.
Fortune continued to favour the brave batsman as skipper Stephen Fleming dropped a regulation catch at first slip when Sehwag was on 63, the bowler to suffer being Tuffey.
Barring these lapses, Sehwag looked in complete command as he dominated the New Zealand pace attack.
Sehwag's brilliance overshadowed fine efforts from Lou Vincent and Shane Bond, who were involved in a rollicking 52-run stand for the unfinished last wicket to help New Zealand post a decent total on a drop-in pitch.
The hosts were struggling at 147-9 before Vincent and Bond flayed the Indian attack in an awesome display of clean and hard hitting.
Bond smashed three sixes and two fours in his 15-ball 31 not out, while Vincent scored an unbeaten 53 for his fourth half-century as New Zealand plundered 37 in the last two overs.
Vincent steadied the innings with an 80-run stand for the sixth wicket with Scott Styris (42) after the hosts had been reduced to 50-4.
Indian paceman Javagal Srinath did the maximum damage early in the innings as he grabbed three wickets, including those of Mathew Sinlair (18) and Chris Cairns (13).
He looked virtually unplayable on a pitch having both pace and bounce as he kept line, length and batsmen under control to eventually finish with 3-13 off 10 overs.
Srinath returned the most economical figures by an Indian against New Zealand in 67 one-day internationals, beating left-arm spinner Ravi Shastri's 10-2-17-0 at Perth in 1985-86.