Zaheer lauds Yuvraj for India's win
India's Zaheer Khan said on Wednesday he was just content with playing a supporting role in a match-winning stand against New Zealand in the fifth one-day international.india Updated: Jan 08, 2003 18:29 IST
India's Zaheer Khan said on Wednesday he was just content with playing a supporting role in a match-winning stand against New Zealand in the fifth one-day international.
"I just wanted to hang around there with Yuvraj Singh, who played a brilliant knock and helped us win the match," said Zaheer, named man of the match for his all-round show in the day-night game at the Westpac Stadium.
Tail-ender Zaheer scored a career-best 34 not out under pressure as India notched up 169-8 in reply to their rivals' 168 for their first win in the ongoing seven-match series.
New Zealand had already wrapped up the series by winning the first four matches.
Yuvraj top-scored with an 85-ball 54 and shared a vital 44-run stand for the eighth wicket with Zaheer after his team had been reduced to 116-7.
"It's a fabulous day for us," said Zaheer.
"Everyone in the team is very happy that we have finally tasted a win on this tour. If we win the remaining two one-dayers, it will be a moral victory for us."
India had already lost a two-Test series before the one-dayers.
Zaheer also played a key role in restricting New Zealand to a modest total, grabbing three wickets for 30 runs off eight overs.
"I really enjoyed bowling first as the pitch helped a lot of movement early in the match. The ball was moving off the wicket and it suited me," said Zaheer, who took two wickets off successive balls in his opening over.
New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming said he elected to bat on a difficult pitch because he wanted to test his batting before next month's World Cup in South Africa.
"It was not an easy wicket," said Fleming, whose side was reduced to 3-3 and then 51-5.
"Batting first was not advisable, but we wanted to test our batting before the World Cup. The important thing is there was not too much pressure on our side throughout the series and we have now got a fair bit of idea.
"I certainly would not have batted first three days ago (at Queenstown where the hosts clinched the series). It was good to expose our batsmen."
The New Zealand captain conceded his bowlers made mistakes which cost his team dearly.
"We conceded too many extras and that was the main difference," said Fleming, whose bowlers gave away 16 wides and two no-balls in a low-scoring match.
"The boys are probably looking too far ahead. The pressure of the World Cup squad is over and the series has been won. It does take off a little bit of edge, but we will try to maintain that edge over the next two games."
New Zealand have already named a 15-member squad for the World Cup.