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India nearly slipped in last-over win: Ganguly

India skipper Sourav Ganguly conceded Saturday his team nearly fumbled before completing a one-wicket victory over New Zealand in the sixth one-day international at the Eden Park.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2003 20:19 IST

India skipper Sourav Ganguly conceded Saturday his team nearly fumbled before completing a one-wicket victory over New Zealand in the sixth one-day international at the Eden Park.

"It should have been a comfortable win, but we kept losing wickets in what turned out to be a pressure game," said Ganguly, whose team posted 200-9 in reply to their rivals' 199-9 to win the day-night game with one ball to spare.

New Zealand, now leading 4-2, had already clinched the ongoing seven-match series with wins in the first four games.

An easy Indian victory looked on the cards when the tourists were placed at 182-3 in the 42nd over, thanks to opener Virender Sehwag's 139-ball 112 which contained three sixes and 11 fours.

India then slipped to 198-9 before last-man Ashish Nehra struck the match's penultimate delivery from seamer Andre Adams for the winning single.

"We were cruising along at one stage, but lost wickets in the middle and then in the last over," said Ganguly. "I think we just left it too late. We have never been in such a situation before in this series."

India lost two wickets in the 49th and last over, including that of Zaheer Khan who was run out off an Adams wide ball.

The tourists were penalised one over for their slow over-rate.

Ganguly said the toss always played a crucial role in the ongoing matches on bowler-friendly pitches.

"Winning the toss is very important in this country," said Ganguly, who put New Zealand in to bat on a drop-in pitch after winning the toss.

"I lost quite a few important tosses on the tour which made a difference in the series, but it is still good to win two matches in a row. We also need to win at Hamilton (venue for the seventh and last game on Tuesday)."

Ganguly said his bowlers did well in restricting the opposition to a modest total despite Shane Bond's quickfire 31 not out off 15 balls.

"He (Bond) hit the ball really well. We went for quite a few runs only in the end, though it usually doesn't happen to us," said Ganguly, whose bowlers conceded 37 in the last two overs.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming praised his team for nearly rallying from the brink and putting pressure on India.

"We came back from the dead," said Fleming. "I think it was the main positive that we got to the last-over situation. We had the opportunity to beat them, but it slipped through our fingers."

Fleming said he thought a total of 199 was defendable, but his team's fielding was not up to the mark.

"We thought it was a good score, but were disappointed with what we did on the field. It's the one area we've always prided ourselves," he said.

New Zealand paid dearly for letting off Sehwag on 35 and 63, for the Indian opener went on to dominate the host attack during his fifth hundred in one-day internationals.

First Published: Jan 11, 2003 20:19 IST