Dambulla, Sri Lanka: The last group match of the Micromax Sri Lanka Triangular Series saw India storming into the final by registering an emphatic win over New Zealand in the virtual semifinal. Sehwag was the difference betweent the two sides. Indian pace battery too showed an edge of Kiwi pace battery.
Toss and Floodlights
The Indian captain has so many wishlists these days to win a match that it is difficult to keep a count of them. Fortunately for him, his 2 wishes for Dambulla were accepted i Dambulla. He won the toss and avoided ‘scary’ floodlights in batting. India batted first. Yet, the hole soon growing into the big hole was apparant.
Sehwag scores, Big Hole in Strong Indian Batting widens
Batting first, starting cautiously, sacrificing his trademark whirlwind start considering he has nobody else behind him to save Team India, Sehwag batted like a seasoned veteran. It was like the Great Roman Warrior taking the enemy all alone despite seeing his member’s blood spilled all over.
The Indian wickets kept tumbling in the same way, as it has in the last 3 matches. From one end, Indian batsmen were coming for a brief stay as if they took the Dambulla ground for a road-side stall to have a quick sip of tea and return. Dhoni wanted to have snacks too, so he stayed a bit longer. On the other side, Sehwag was roaring, dazzling and hurting the Kiwi bowlers, who assumed that they are on top, counting the number of falling Indian wickets.
In the end India were all out on 223. Sehwag scored 110 of them and more importantly provided pace to the inning, never going on defensive. Dhoni shared a century (107 runs) 5th wicket partnership with him, first by Indian side against New Zealand in ODI.
New Zealand Had an Easy Target, but Indian Bowlers…
224 was an easy target on the not-so-crumbling Dambulla pitch. But, New Zealand had just two batsmen to boast of. Taylor and Styris who won the last game against India. Both failed this time. The Indian pace quartet of Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma showed the Kiwis the place a team deserves with B team – the last spot in a tournament. Praveen and Munaf took 3 each, while Nehra proved the most miser taking 2 wickets for just 10 runs in his 6 overs. Even Ishant tasted blood. India won by 105 runs in the end.
Sehwag – The Difference
Amidst the threatening bowling display from both the teams, none of the 22 batsmen, except Sehwag and up-to-some extent Mills flourished. Sehwag batted the New Zealand out of the game. His 13th hundred and the 6th one against New Zealand makes him the highest century scorer against New Zealand, joining Ponting. He has achieved this feat in just 23 innings. New Zealand will pray to keep him out of their next series against India!!
New Zealand, deservingly is out of the tournament. India, surprisingly is in the final. Considering their passt 4 games, even winning the toss is not their winning key. Considering they have lost games by big margin, woke up to win the next match with huge margin, then again go back to slumber to lose next match with huge margin, and again wake up. So final will be their 5th match of the game where if the trend continues, Sri Lanka will create some new records in defeating India.
Yet, if the Indians can manage to remain awake and understand that just winning one match is not good enough to be called consistent and strong team in Cricket, then we have a thrilling final awaiting on Saturday.