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Irfan Pathan eager to settle scores
Press Trust of India, PTI
Perth, February 04, 2004
First Published: 21:15 IST(3/2/2004)
Last Updated: 15:55 IST(4/2/2004)

After destroying the Zimbabwean batting, young pace bowler Irfan Pathan on Tuesday said he now wanted to repeat the show against Australia in the tri-series finals beginning in Melbourne on Friday.

"I was not happy with the last match (when Australian batsmen clobbered him for 69 runs in eight overs) and I worked a lot in the nets," said the 19-year-old Pathan who bagged his first man-of-the-match award of his career for taking 4/24 in the last league match here.

"It is a real big thing to play against Australia and I want to improve my performance in the final," the 19-year-old said eagerly looking forward to his first big match when India take on the world champions before a packed house at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"Today I was concentrating on bowling a decent line and length and it paid off," he said as India bowled out the minnows for 135 before registering a four-wicket win.

Pathan, who shot into limelight with his record nine-wicket match haul in the U-19 Asia Cup in Pakistan, also said he had learnt a lot during the Australian tour.

Stand-in captain Rahul Dravid was viewing the finals with guarded optimism saying "On our day we can match them. They are the world champions and it is an honour to play against them in the final with a chance to win."

Admitting that it was a tough day in office with Zimbabwe running them close at one stage, Dravid said in the end he was happy that his team managed to win.

"Our opening bowlers did a terrific job and it was a great first spell," Dravid said praising all the four pace bowlers.

India ended their league campaign beating Zimbabwe four times and Australia once. They lost their other three matches to the world champions.

On his dual role as captain and wicketkeeper, Dravid said he enjoyed it and credited the team physio and trainer for keeping him fit.

Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak, whose team suffered the eighth straight loss today, was looking at the positives after the string of defeats.

"In the last few matches we have been competitive and played some close matches," he said.

Streak also felt that with a few more runs on the board the Africans could have really troubled the Indians. "We had them six down and then we dropped Hemang Badani. Otherwise it would have been close."


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