Inspired India thrash South Africa
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Inspired India thrash South Africa

An awesome batting display, followed by some accurate bowling by India at the Bangabandhu Stadium, gave South Africa a rude jolt.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2003 12:28 IST

An awesome display of batting by India, followed by some accurate bowling at the Bangabandhu Stadium here on Sunday, gave South Africa - led by a new captain Graeme Smith - a rude jolt.

Mohammad Kaif and Dinesh Mongia plundered the South African attack, scoring 101 runs in the last 10 overs - 67 of them in the last five - to post 307 for four in their TVS Cup match.

The bowlers complemented the batsmen, bundling out South Africa for 154 runs in the 35th over, to welcome coach John Wright here with a 153-run win - India's highest victory margin by runs over South Africa. Wright joined the squad on Sunday and was seen beaming at the end of the day.

The Kaif-Mongia pair's unbeaten 110-run fifth-wicket stand will haunt Smith for some time to come. The South African skipper just could not get his field-setting right. Kaif was left stranded on 95 and Mongia scored a 38-ball 55. Before the two got together, India skipper Sourav Ganguly gave them the perfect launching pad for the blast-off, with an immaculately compiled 75.

Smith indeed had a miserable debut as South Africa's youngest-ever captain - he played on to Ajit Agarkar for one, the first wicket to fall. That started a slide, which continued till the last wicket fell.

The Indian bowlers, including part-timers like Ganguly and Virender Sehwag, struck vital blows. For the record, Neil McKenzie became leg-spinner Amit Mishra's first One-day International victim.

Electing to bat, India produced one of their best performances in recent times.

The India skipper, who scored three centuries in the World Cup, but all against non-Test playing nations, proved he doesn't always need the stuff sent down by minnows to show his class. He took advantage of the slow wicket and an early stroke of luck. However, once he departed, Kaif took charge and by the end of the innings had completely overshadowed his skipper.

Kaif swung the bat like a baseball club - with maximum effect and effortless ease. His 103-ball knock had shots to all parts of the ground. Mongia proved equally ruthless. He got much lesser time to settle down, but the Punjab batsman was as effective as Kaif. Some lusty hitting in the last over bowled by Shaun Pollock allowed Mongia to get past his 50.

In the end, it turned out to be a great day for the middle-order. Makhaya Ntini was the only South African bowler to trouble the Indians on a placid wicket. Former skipper Pollock, surprisingly used as the fifth bowler, did keep the Indians quiet in the middle of the innings, but never looked threatening.

Ganguly survived early in the innings, when his mistimed pull was held off a Makhaya Ntini no-ball. The experienced left-hander used that 'life' well to accumulate his runs with the more conventional ones and twos.

There was the odd boundary too and the elegant-looking six off Robin Peterson over long-on. Fifty came in 63 balls before Ganguly decided he had settled down well enough to chance his arms. The skipper tried a shot too many and offered a simple catch to Neil McKenzie at mid-off, off Dawson.

Ganguly was the third wicket to fall at 175 and Yuvraj Singh was soon run out, but that opened the path for Kaif and Mongia to batter South Africa.

Earlier, Sehwag lived dangerously for his non-too-impressive 37. And there was no luck for the man who needed it most. Trying to make a mark in the international arena, Gautam Gambhir would be disappointed with his 18. He was definitely looking good for a longer stay.


First Published: Apr 13, 2003 13:41 IST