High five from Pathan routs Zim
Zimbabwe, on Monday gave cricket experts yet another reason to fault ICC on granting the African nation, International status.
The hosts were 'waterloo-ed' by Indian frontine pacers - flaming Pathan and blazing Agarkar; losing to India by a whopping margin of 162 runs in the third league encounter of the Videocon tri-series.
The Zimbabwean response to India's total of 226 was meek and spineless. The team folded up in just 24.2 overs, with only Heath Streak(18) reaching double figures.
Agarkar took four, while Man-of-the-match Irfan Pathan registered his best ever ODI performance with 5/27.
The home team forage for runs started dreadfully, losing three quick wickets in a matter of just 8 overs.
Pathan struck with an early blow, castling Taylor's stumps with a lovely off-cutter. But it was Agarkar that proved to be more lethal initially. He replaced Nehra and got the two wickets in his very first over. The first one of supersub Sibanda, was gentle caught and bowled. The second one, that of Maskadza was a jaffer!
Agarkar's good length delivery just skidded across Masakadza, who erred in playing down the wrong line. The ball hit the pad bang in front of the stumps.
Zimbabwe were three down for 17 runs, Agarkar was on fire.
Pathan not to be left behind, struck in the 11th over. He got veteran batsman Carlisle plumbed in front of the stumps. The African minnows' batting line up was falling to pieces!
The next two batters to come did not put up much resistance. Taibu and Coventry walked back to the pavillion dejected for 4 and 0, respectively. It was time for Pathan to party now. At this time, he had unbelievable figures of 4/14.
The Zimbabwean slump continued even further. Andy Blignaut was leg before wicket, trying to shuffle across to play a fast inswinging Agarkar delivery. Yet another batter had perished for Zimbabwe!
At the 13th over mark, the home team was already seven down, for just 36 runs.
The very next over, Pathan struck yet again with another ripper. Ewing was clueless as a big inswinging delivery by the bowler cut him into half.
It was the fourth duck of the innings, and Pathan had registered his best ever bowling performance in ODIs!
The last wicket partnership frustrated the Indians a bit, lingering on for 10 more overs. But Harbhajan spun his magic on last man Utseya, to dismiss him for 11.
Zimbabwe could just manage 65 runs. Streak was undefeated at the other end, at 18.
India's batting collapse
Indian team earlier faced the ignominy of yet another top-order collapse, before some hard hitting batting by wicketkeeper Dhoni (56) and Yuvraj Singh(53) restored some honour in the camp. The team finished with a meagre 226, after a spirited spell by the home team bowlers ripped the heart of famed Indian batting order.
Pacer Ireland, in his second one-day match, was the pick of the bowlers taking 3/54.
India opened the innings with an unexpected rude shock in the very first over. Venugopal Rao, who opened the innings with skipper Sourav Ganguly as Virender Sehwag was indisposed, fell to Heath Streak in his fifth ball without opening his account. (Ganguly disappoints again...Continued next page)