Yuvraj, Dhoni steer India to imposing win
The two put on a record sixth wicket partnership (158) and rescued India. Full Scorecard | Action Replayindia Updated: Sep 05, 2005 15:41 IST
Yuvraj Singh hit a sublime century and steered India out from the jaws of defeat to register an imposing win against Zimbabwe by four wickets.
The last league encounter of the Videocon tri-series saw Yuvraj (120 off 124 balls) along with Dhoni (67* off 63 balls) in a record sixth wicket partnership to bail the team out after the batting lineup was tottering at 91/5.
Yuvraj had twelve superb hits to the fence and one massive six in his 158-run stand with Dhoni. The wicketkeeper - in his usual style - scored faster than run-a-ball with just one four, but three towering sixes.
Zimbabwe had earlier set-up fighting total of 250, riding on skipper Taibu's 71 off 97 balls and all-rounder Coventry's 74 off 99 balls. But India successfully chased down the target with 11 balls to spare.
India were off to a bad start, when front-line bowler Mahwire struck early. Sehwag looking to hit on the up, got a big inside edge. The ball crashed into the stumps and he was walking back to the pavilion for 12.
Soon after Sehwag's dismissal, Ganguly disappointed the Indian cricket fans yet again, departing for a measly 2.
Ganguly cut hard to a short ball, but Sibanda prowling at backward point managed to conjure up a miraculous catch. He timed his jump to perfection and took a stunning catch to give Ireland his first wicket of the innings.
India had lost both the openers and were in a spot of bother!
The procession did not stall there. Dravid and Kaif too departed one after the another. Dravid (6) played on to a rising ball, and was bowled for the fourth time in as many matches. Kaif (8) was leg-before wicket to an angling delivery from Blignaut.
The score at the end of the first powerplay was 38 for the loss of four wickets. The replacements, Venugopal Rao and Yuvraj Singh steadied the innings thereafter.
They built on a slow yet assured partnership, and successfully warded off any further immediate damage. They reached the 50-run partnership in the 22nd over, with the score at 88/4.
But the Zimbabweean bowlers were refusing to tone down the pressure. It ultimately ended up in huge mix-up. Frustrated Rao ran himself out, while trying for a non-existent single, for 27 runs.
At the half-way mark India had lost half its side, chasing the target at 6.32 runs per over.
Hard-hitter Dhoni was the next man in. He immediately made his presence felt with a sudden surge in the run-rate. Singles and doubles were coming easier and much faster.
Even Yuvraj got confidence from his batting and quickly raced to his fifty in the 32nd over.
However, the required run-rate was a tall order for both the batters. With just 14 overs to go, India needed 100 more runs at more than 7 runs an over.
Dhoni and Yuvi seemed to realise the predicament and further upped the tempo. The next 5 overs went for 42 runs and the gap between runs to win and balls remaining inched closer. At the 41st over, India needed 58 runs in 54 balls.
Boundaries were coming thick and fast from both the batsmen' blades. It was Zimbabwean bowlers now, who were feeling the heat.
|Yuvraj Singh's ODI batting averages|
Yuvraj reached his century (in 105 balls) and Dhoni hit his half-ton at almost the same time. At the 44th over, India were well and truly on top, needing just 31 off 36 balls.
India in the end, reached the target quite comfortably. Though Yuvi departed for 120 with 2 more runs to win, Dhoni ensured that there were no more hiccups.
Zimbabwe set a fighting target
Earlier, Zimbabwe gave the Indian bowlers a run for their money, setting up a competitive target of 251 runs against the tourists in the last league match of the Videocon tri-series.
Riding on some remarkable batting by skipper Taibu's 71 off 97 balls and all-rounder Coventry's 74 off 99 balls, the home team registered the fighting total. The two batters set up a 116-run partnership for the 4th wicket and bailed their side out of trouble, after Zimbabwean top three had departed with just 50 on board. (Zimbabwe's rapid fire...Continued...)
First Published: Sep 04, 2005 13:07 IST