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Another final, India choke again

Indian bowlers failed to deliver as Kiwis clinched the Videocon Cup. Full Scorecard | Action Replay

india Updated: Sep 07, 2005 02:06 IST

Nathan Astle's thoroughly dominated the proceedings and led New Zealand to a six-wicket victory against India in the finals of the Videocon tri-series in Harare on Tuesday.

The man-of-the-match scored an authoritative 115 off 131 balls, hitting 13 boundaries and one six. He opened the innigs and stayed undefeated till the very end.

The veteran Kiwi batsmen looked in resplendent touch, taking the attack to the bowlers from the word go. He along with skipper Stephen Fleming (61 off 66 balls) chased down the fighting target of 277 set by India.

With due credit to Astle's stellar performance, his big score in match was majorly due to one of the poorest Indian pace bowling, a cricket buff could witness. India lost the match at the start of the Kiwi batting, when Pathan and Nehra were heavily punished for awry line and length.

With another loss in the final, Team India have successfully crowned themselves : "The new chokers in cricket".

Earlier, the Indian batting clicked with Mohammed Kaif (93) and Sehwag (75) firing and piling up a respectable total of 276. But the bowling let the team down yet again.

The Kiwi openers got their team off to a flyer, scoring at a blazing velocity and there was no looking back after that.

In one miserable over from Nehra, Astle hit 4 scorching hits to the fence. Fleming not to be left behind, overpowered Pathan for 5 fours in the very next over.

The score at the end of the first powerplay was 82 already, and that too without loss. The two batsmen were looking strong and in no mood to relent the pressure. Their hundred run partnership came in just 78 balls.

However, bowling change in the form of Sehwag did the trick as danger-man Fleming (61) and Marshall (3) departed one after another. The skipper erred in driving the ball too early and lobbed the catch straight to the bowler.

Marshall missed the ball and hit on the pad, while trying to play back to a faster one. The umpire raised his finger and he was walking back to the pavilion.

The New Zealand team, with the loss of two wickets, were 125 in the 19th over.

Nathan Astle, meanwhile, was holding up his end and soon reached his fifty with a classic cut past point to the fence. He was joined by Styris, who gave him firm support that kept the momentum going.

Sehwag stuck again in the 34th over when Styris (37) was stumped by Dhoni, charging down the track and completely missing a well-flighted delivery.

He was replaced by McMillan who did not last long. He was dismissed for 13 runs with New Zealand at 206/4 at the 38th over mark, well on course to victory.

Vincent replaced McMillan who anchored himself to the crease. Astle reached triple figures in the 45th over, with a daring six off Harbhajan Singh. The ball was launched into the stands at midwicket!

The New Zealand team romped home with 11 balls remaining.

Indian batting stumble despite good start

Earlier,Indianopeners, Sehwag and Ganguly, were off to a good start. Ganguly in particular looked in good touch, middling the ball more often than not. His drives and cuts were noticeably sweetly timed, looking much more assured than he has been all series. In fact, in one over of Oram the skipper sent the ball thrice to the fence.

By the end of the first power play India were 46 without loss, with Sourav playing on 24 and Sehwag on 20.

Shane Bond, who had devastated the Indian innings in the first league encounter against India by taking six wickets, failed to make any breakthrough in his first spell of five overs. He, however, restrained the openers from playing big shots, conceding just 3 runs per over. (Continued next page...)

First Published: Sep 07, 2005 01:24 IST