Bowlers call the shots as India storm into final

Man of the match Nehra, Yuvraj share honours; Sachin warms up with cameo

Bowlers call the shots as India storm into final

 
Ashish Nehra makes a plaintive, and eventually successful, appeal for leg before wicket against Brendon  McCullum during India’s six-wicket win over New Zealand in their tri-series league tie in Colombo on Friday. APOn another humid day and faced with a must-win situation to stay in contention for a place in the final, New Zealand fared no better than in their first match against Sri Lanka to slump to a six-wicket defeat at the Premadasa stadium on Friday.

Following up their command bowling performance in the afternoon, India kept up the good work in the middle to knock off the required 156 runs with 9.3 overs to spare. The margin of victory, however, was deceptively convincing. 

The target was hardly challenging, but the conditions were. Pushing 37 and making a comeback to one-day cricket after a gap of nearly two years isn’t easy, even if you happen to be a certain Rahul Dravid.

A confident flick through mid-wicket off Kyle Mills and a firm glance off Shane Bond in the nascent stage of his innings notwithstanding, it was a struggle for the Bangalorean, who played out two maiden overs as well, though it was a luxury he could afford given the smallish total they were in pursuit of.

Besides, at the other end, there was Sachin Tendulkar (46, 55b, 6x4) who took the pressure off him keeping the score board ticking. The duo added 60 for the second wicket before Jacob Oram won a marginal lbw decision against Dravid, who faced 45 balls for his 14.

Soon after Dravid’s dismissal, Tendulkar followed him into the hut, chipping Daniel Vettori to Martin Guptill at cover. But the Mumbaikar had done enough to place India in an advantageous position.

Yuvraj Singh fell to a moment of indiscretion as his attempted slog off Vettori ballooned over short mid-wicket for Guptill to complete another simple catch.

Mini-crisis

There appeared to be a mini crisis before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (35, 65b, 4x4) in the company of an exuberant Suresh Raina (45, 54b, 3x4, 2x6), took control of the situation and raised 72 runs for the undefeated fifth-wicket association to take India home.

It was once again the Kiwis’ inept batting that let them down. Struggling in equal measure against pace and spin, the Kiwis again painted a pretty bad picture of themselves on a wicket that had carry for the pacemen and a bit of turn and bounce for the slow bowlers.

Ashish Nehra made an early impact with the new ball, trapping openers Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum in front as the batsmen made the mistake of playing the left-armer across, marginal away movement rapping the duo on the pads and winning umpire Kumar Dharmasena’s approval.

Once the Delhiite -- who became the eighth Indian medium-pacer to claim 100 one-day wickets by dismissing McCullum -- triggered the rot, Rudra Pratap Singh put an end to a shuffling Ross Taylor, caught by a diving Dhoni behind the stumps.

Ishant Sharma, a bit off-colour of late, returned to wicket-taking ways in fine style. Without exerting himself, the gangling fast bowler caused enough problems and posed numerous questions to the Kiwi batsmen with his nagging line and disconcerting pace, and fully deserving figures of two for 26 from 10 overs.

While the pacemen revelled in ideal bowling conditions, it was Yuvraj who made hay with his left-arm spinners. The Punjab player was suppose to complete the quota of 10 overs of the fifth bowler along with other part-time bowlers but in the end, he was the only bowler apart from Ishant to bowl out his full 10 overs, finishing with impressive figures of 10-0-31-3.

India take on Sri Lanka in the final league match on Saturday in a dress rehearsal for the title clash slated for Monday, both teams looking for the psychological edge.

SCORE BOARD

NEW ZEALAND
B McCullum lbw Nehra    3
(9b)
Ryder lbw Nehra    0
(2b)
Guptill c Dravid b Yuvraj    22
(42b, 3x4)
Taylor c Dhoni b RP Singh    11
(15b, 2x4)
Elliott c Dhoni b Yuvraj    22
(39b)
Oram c & b Ishant    24
(45b, 2x4)
Broom c Raina b Ishant    24
(45b, 2x4)
Vettori b Ishant    25
(36b, 1x4)
Mills b RP Singh    6
(20b)
Butler c Harbhajan b Nehra    6
(31b)
Bond (not out)    10
(12b, 1x4)
Extras (LB-4, W-1)     5
Total (all out, 46.3 overs)    155
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Ryder), 2-4 (McCullum), 3-19 (Taylor), 4-51 (Guptill), 5-66 (Elliott), 6-101 (Oram), 7-116 (Broom), 8-134 (Mills), 9- 142 (Vettori).     
Bowling: Nehra 8.3-24-3, RP Singh 8-2-22-2 (w-1), Ishant 10-2-26-2, Yuvraj 10-0-31-3, Harbhajan 8-0-39-0, Raina 1-0-4-0, Yusuf 1-0-5-0.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 14/2; 10: 30/3; 15: 51/4; 20: 65/4; 25: 85/4; 30: 107/6; 35: 129/7; 40: 140/8; 45: 151/9; end of Innings: 155 all out in 46.3 overs.         
Runs during: Power play 1: 1-10 overs: 30/3; Power play 2: 11-15 overs: 21/1; Power play 3: 45-46.3 overs: 4/1.  

INDIA
Kaarthick lbw Mills    4
(11b)
Tendulkar c Guptill b Vettori    46
(55b, 6x4)
Dravid lbw Oram    14
(45b, 1x4)
Yuvraj c Guptill b Vettori    8
(13b, 2x4)
Dhoni (not out)    35
(65b, 4x4)
Raina (not out)    45
(54b, 3x4, 2x6)
Extras (LB-3, W-1)    4
Total (for 4 wkts, 40.3 overs)    156
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Kaarthick), 2-67 (Dravid), 3-71 (Tendulkar), 4-84 (Yuvraj). 
Bowling: Mills 5.3-1-25-1, Bond 10-3-30-0 (w-1), Butler 4-0-25-0, Vettori 10-0-33-2, Oram 7-1-19-1, Elliott 2-0-9-0, Guptill 2-0-12-0.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 16/1; 10: 34/1; 15: 57/1; 20: 72/3; 25: 85/4; 30: 108/4; 35: 134/4; 40: 153/4; end of Innings: 156/4 (40.3 overs).     
Runs during: Power play 1: 1-10 overs: 34/1; Power play 2: 11-15 overs: 23/0; Power play 3: (not taken).

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