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Yuvraj?s ton fires India to win

Bangladesh's tale of sorrow continued as they suffered a massive 199-run defeat to India in the opening TVS Cup match.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2003 01:32 IST

Bangladesh's tale of sorrow continued on Friday, as they suffered a massive 199-run defeat to India in the opening TVS Cup match here.

Chasing 276, the Bangladesh batsmen failed to figure out the Indian bowling and were bundled for 77 in 27.3 overs, equalling their lowest ever score.

Clearly, this team still needs time to get accustomed to the big league. Before the Indian attack bared its fangs, Yuvraj Singh held centrestage in the afternoon heat.

The Punjab batsman relishes pressure situations. He has made a habit of firing whenever the chips are down and coming in at No.5, India's newest Man Friday once again blazed when India needed him most.

Not exactly in dire straits, India, nevertheless, were at an embarrassing 172 for six in the TVS Cup opener against Bangladesh here, when Yuvraj scripted the rescue act. That India managed 276 was mainly due to Yuvraj's unbeaten 102 and his 92-run seventh wicket partnership with Ajit Agarkar.

The bowlers then took over under the lights and in the process, India discovered Avishkar Salvi. The 21-year-old Mumbai pacer with a smooth side-on action grabbed his first one-day wicket with the fifth ball, added another in his fifth over and then saw an easy chance slip through Virender Sehwag's fingers.

With Zaheer Khan as menacing as ever, Bangladesh were 12 for three even before the spectators had settled down for the evening. Agarkar and Harbhajan Singh tore through the middle before Zaheer returned to wipe out the tail, finishing with four for 19.

The final victory did not bring as much joy as the cover drive off Bangladesh skipper Khaled Mahmud in the Indian innings' last over and an uncharacteristically energetic show of jubilation that marked Yuvraj's 84-ball century, his first in one-day internationals.

This was a moment to cherish and he had studded it with nine boundaries and six sixes. His innings overshadowed the fact that it was the first time Bangladesh had bowled India out within 50 overs.

The day began well for Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who won the toss and quite expectedly, elected to bat. With the heat soaring beyond tolerable level, fielding second was always going to be the preferred option. Gautam Gambhir took his guard in the international arena --- it was after a long time that Delhi provided India with both the openers.

Things were slow and deceptive to begin with. Sehwag was in no hurry and a shaky Gambhir survived two run-out attempts and a miscued shot that could easily have been converted into a catch. Going for a pull, the debutant managed a thick edge off Tapash Baishya. Monjurul Islam at third man misjudged the flight. Sehwag went down the pitch to have a talk with his junior partner, but Gambhir's smile could not hide his lack of confidence.

The first five overs had just two boundaries, a Sehwag trademark and the Gambhir miscue. But then, it is extremely difficult to keep a storm quiet.

Baishya made one move away from Sehwag and the batsman took that as a challenge. Sehwag retaliated in the same over, hitting the bowler for three fours and a six that fetched him his 50.

The storm was ready to blow Bangladesh apart. However, it proved to be just a passing phase. Two overs later, Sehwag stepped out to off-spinner Rafique and was trapped leg-before.

Ganguly, having felt his back while stealing a quick single earlier, had indicated he was not in the best of conditions. He was not in the best of form either, as a mistimed square-cut, floored by Alok Kapali at point, showed.

Like Sehwag, Ganguly responded by hitting two sixes. Once again like Sehwag, it was another passing storm.

The two dangermen were gone. But it was at this juncture that Yuvraj stepped onto the stage and fired.

Scorecard

First Published: Apr 11, 2003 13:42 IST