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New South Wale Blues win by 35 runs

Chasing the target of 131 set by New South Wales Blues, Sussex Sharks lost the match by 35 runs in the Champions League at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Deepika Sharma reports.FULL COVERAGE

india Updated: Oct 12, 2009 01:26 IST
Deepika Sharma

The Ferozeshah Kotla pitch has become a mystery even bigger than the Da Vinci Code. And it’s not just the teams who are trying hard to unravel the curious case of the wicket, but the cheerleaders too can’t seem to understand why they have so little to do at the games.

This pitch — a dry and sluggish wicket — isn’t exactly a batsman’s paradise. And Sunday was a yet another example of how it can be a nightmare for the teams.

A small total of 130 by New South Wales Blues wasn’t a mammoth one but it was competitive one, especially on this wicket. The Sussex Sharks drowned in the chase, managing only 95 and eventually losing by 35 runs. The win gave the Australian outfit a straight entry into the league stage.

There wasn’t a big crowd in this one either, but one thing that remained the same, however, was the irritating slow and low wicket and the equally irritating song ‘Dhoom Macha Le’, which the DJ seemed hell-bent on playing.

The Blues bowlers were brilliant in their effort to stop the Sharks from making any kind of splash. They struck early and didn’t give away too many runs in the PowerPlay. After Brett Lee’s devastating opening spell, which included Ed Joyce’s wicket, Moses Henriques and Doug Bollinger kept the Sharks away from scoring big.

Sussex was looked in trouble at 26 for 2. It went from bad to worse when Henriques struck twice in a row to reduce them to 64 for 5 and thinks got meeker when two more fell with just 68 on the board.

Henriques proved a star performer with his three wickets and a splendid half-century.

The 90-run partnership between Phillip Hughes (62 off 64) and Henriques (51 off 33) gave the Blues an edge in the match. Before they came on to bat, Blues had lost two wickets and looked in danger of folding up early. The Blues had only managed 50 at the halfway stage. Hughes smashed his first six off Piyush Chawla over long off. Henriques also joined the party and slog-swept one over deep mid-wicket. The 22-year-old Henriques was dropped a few balls later at cover, and never looked back after that.

The two scored 45 runs between 10 and 15 overs, and a total of 150 looked within reach. But Sussex bowlers Yasir Arafat, Dwayne Smith and Kirtley, bowled their heart out and gave little room to the two. Both batsmen tried hard to give Blues that final acceleration but the Kotla pitch and Sussex bowlers didn’t give them that hope.

New South Wales Blues
Warner run out 14, Hughes not out 62, Smith c Martin-Jenkins b Chawla 2, Henriques not out 51
Extras (lb 1) 1
Total (for 2 wkts; 20 overs) 130
FoW: 1-35, 2-40
Bowling: Jenkins 2-0-14-0, Arafat 4-0-23-0, Kirtley 3-0-15-0, Keegan 4-0-25-0, Chawla 2-0-21-1, Brown 1-0-8-0, Smith 4-0-23-0

Sussex Sharks
Nash c Clark b Henriques 24, Joyce b Lee 0, Brown st Smith b S Smith 13, D Smith b Bollinger 13, Gatting run out 9, Chawla c Hughes b Henriques 0, Arafat b Hauritz 1, Hodd c S Smith b Henriques 12, Keegan not out 10, Jenkins not out 2; (b 5, lb 4, w 2) 11
Total (for 8 wkts; 20 overs) 95
FoW: 1-1, 2-26, 3-49, 4-64, 5-64, 6-68, 7-68, 8-83
Bowling: Lee 4-1-8-1, Bollinger 4-0-13-1, Henriques 4-0-23-3, Clark 3-0-20-0, S Smith 4-0-19-1, Hauritz 1-0-3-1.