Kaif's ton steers India to finals
India avenged their Bulawayo loss, with a gratifying victory over New Zealand by six wickets. Scorecard | Action Replayindia Updated: Sep 03, 2005 10:23 IST
Team India avenged their Bulawayo loss, with a gratifying, morale-boosting victory over New Zealand by 6 wickets in the league encounter of the Videocon tri-series at Harare. India successfully chased the huge Kiwi target with 15 balls to spare, thanks to champion century by man-of-the-match Mohammed Kaif (102 off 121 balls).
He struck eleven breathtaking shots to the fence and set the foundation, which took the game away from New Zealand's grasp. He was ably supported by Sehwag (45) who gave India a blazing start; Dravid (39) who provided good support during the middle overs and Dhoni(37) who finished the innings with a flourish.
Earlier, the New Zealand team had plundered the Indian bowlers, amassing a stiff target of 279 runs. But the Kiwi bowling, devoid of Shane Bond and Daniel Vettori, lacked venom and could not stop the Indian run-charge.
With this win, India have assured themselves of a final berth with the same opposition.
India, at the start, were off to a flyer with Sehwag and Ganguly launching into the Kiwi bowlers. Sehwag, in particular, was in destructive mood and Andre Adams bore the major brunt of his fury. In fact, in one over of Adams, the opener hit four boundaries. Fleming instantly replaced him.
The score rocketed to 55 runs in just 6 overs. However, Ganguly who was looking good initially, got out yet again to a short ball for 18. The skipper mis-timed the pull shot off Mills and it went straight down fine-leg's throat. Patel took a simple catch there.
Ganguly's departure was followed by Sehwag's dismissal. Oram's in-swinger clipped the edge of Sehwag's bat and disrupted the woodwork behind him. Sehwag hit 45 off 34 balls.
After a dream start, India were two down for 75 at the end of the first powerplay.
Kaif and Dravid replaced the openers at the crease. They provided a strong partnership at a steady run-rate, without any further loss of wicket. Kaif managed to find a boundary every two overs from then on and Dravid provided a firm support from the other end.
At the half-way mark, India were cruising along at 155/2.
|Kaif's ODI batting averages|
Kaif reached his half-century with a single to deep mid-wicket region in the 26th over. It took him just 54 balls to reach the landmark! The New Zealand team were in desperate need of wicket.
Finally in the 31st over, Styris struck and broke the hundred-run partnership. A perfect line and length ball went right through Dravid to the wickets. Dravid walked back to the pavilion for 39. India were three down for 176, needing 100 more runs from 18 overs.
Yuvraj was the next man in. He and in-form Kaif put a competitive partnership that lasted for 43 more runs, before Yuvraj departed for 22. Patel's quicker delivery beat Yuvraj and hit the pad bang in front of the stumps. The umpire raised his finger and India had lost another wicket at a crucial interval.
Dhoni joined Kaif, who was stuck doggedly at the other end. In the 43th over, he was inching close to his hundred with 89 runs. India at this stage were 231/4, needing 48 runs off 42 balls.
Kaif reached his 2nd ODI century with a sparkling four to the vacant backward square-leg fence. With Kaif surpassing the century mark, India quickly raced to achieve the target. Dhoni, in his usual style, hit two sixes at the end to dash any Kiwi hope of a twist in the tail.
Dhoni finished unbeaten with an incredible 37 runs off 27 balls (3 fours, 2 sixes) while
Kaif was not out at the other end with 102 runs to his credit.
New Zealand setstiff target
Earlier, New Zealand plundered the Indian bowling and amassed a huge total of 278 runs in their last league encounter against India in the Videocon tri-series at Harare.
Nearly every batter in their long batting line up fired. Styris (56) was the top scorer with Fleming (47), McMillan (40) and Vincent (37) contributing to the total. McCullum and Oram's cameos at the end gave the innings a late impetus. (Kiwi plunder continues... Next Page)