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Pacers back from the dead

India's first four-pronged pace attack in two years, led by Praveen Kumar, bundled New Zealand out for 118 runs to not only set up a final against Sri Lanka on Saturday but also avenge the 200-run drubbing by the same opponents in the tri-series opener a fortnight ago. Amol Karhadkar reports. See graphic

cricket Updated: Aug 26, 2010 00:43 IST
Amol Karhadkar

When Mahendra Singh Dhoni was quizzed about India being heavily reliant on individual brilliance, on the eve of the virtual semifinal against New Zealand, the skipper had said, "It has always been a part of Indian cricket."

The captain then buttressed his statement, saying, "It can be termed as individual brilliance because you have one batsman batting through and the others batting around him. So, you may call it relying on individual brilliance, but you need the support from others."

The script at the Dambulla Stadium on Wednesday turned out to be a reinforcement of what Dhoni had said. Riding on Virender Sehwag's scintillating stroke-play, and backed by Dhoni's sedate approach, India first put on a respectable 223 on the board. Then their first four-pronged pace attack in two years, led by Praveen Kumar, bundled New Zealand out for 118 runs to not only set up a final against Sri Lanka on Saturday but also avenge the 200-run drubbing by the same opponents in the tri-series opener a fortnight ago.

Praveen found opener Martin Guptill plumb in front of the wickets off the second ball he bowled, thus striking in the maiden over of the innings for the second time here.

In the next over, BJ Watling played Ashish Nehra on to his stumps to open the floodgates. Praveen then saw the back of Ross Taylor and Scott Styris to take the fizz out of the Kiwi batting.

With the top four Kiwis succumbing in the ninth over and the scoreboard reading 22, Kyle Mills' entertaining fifty was always going to achieve nothing except delaying the inevitable.

Earlier, had it not been for Sehwag's 13th ODI century, and his 107-run partnership with Dhoni for the fifth wicket, India would have had their third batting collapse. Sehwag's radiance backed by Dhoni's patience helped India cross the 200-run mark for the first time in the tournament.

For a moment, it seemed there were two matches being played simultaneously. While Sehwag was tormenting the Kiwi bowlers in one battle, the other battle saw all the other Indians succumbing to Kiwi swing. What was disappointing about the rest of India was all of them threw their wickets away.

Scorecard

India: Karthik c Hopkins b Mills 0, Sehwag c Watling b McCullum 110, Kohli c Hopkins b Southee 8, Yuvraj c Hopkins b McKay 6, Raina c Williamson b Southee 1, Dhoni c Hopkins b McCullum 38, Jadeja c Taylor b Southee 17, Kumar c Mills b Southee 6, Nehra c&b McCullum 0, Sharma not out 8, Patel c McKay b Mills 7

Extras: (b-1, lb-5, nb-2, w-14) 22

Total: (all out; 46.3 overs) 223

FoW: 1-0 2-27 3-61 4-66 5-173 6-199 7-199 8-207 9-207

Bowling: Mills 8.3-1-42-2, Southee 10-2-49-4, McKay 8-1-31-1, Styris 6-0-37-0, McCullum 10-0-35-3, Williamson 4-0-23-0.

New Zealand : Watling b Nehra 2, Guptill lbw b Kumar 0, Taylor c Dhoni b Kumar 8, Elliott lbw b Patel 11, Styris b Kumar 1, Williamson b Sharma 13, Hopkins lbw b Patel 0, McCullum c Karthik b Patel 5, Mills c Kumar b Nehra 52, Southee c Kumar b Jadeja 10, McKay not out 3.

Extras: (lb-5, w-8) 13

Total: (all out; 30.1 overs) 118

FoW: 1-1 2-6 3-14 4-22 5-41 6-42 7-52 8-53 9-80 10-118

Bowling: Kumar 8-2-34-3, Nehra 6.1-1-10-2, Patel 7-1-21-3, Sharma 6-1-27-1, Jadeja 3-0-21-1.