India and West Indies will meet twice (Sunday and Tuesday) to decide the destination of the Singapore Challenge Cup. Today, India outclassed Zimbabwe by 115 runs. That meant the exit of Zimbabwe that had lost both its matches in this tri-nation meet.
Zimbawe had lost its first match to the West Indies on Sept 2. Today, in a match that was reduced to 30-over-each-side, it won the toss and preferred to field first. It ran into trouble against soma exploding batting by Sachin Tendulkar and Ajay Jadeja. During the long association of Tendulkar and Jadeja143 runs for the third wicket in 17 overs) it became clear that India was getting ready to take sweet revenge for its World Cup 99 reverse at the hands Zimbabwe.
Earlier, when Tendulkar was on the rampage, he had lost Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. After the arrival of Jadeja, the Zimbabwe bowlers lost their rhythm. The stand was broken when Tendulkar, looking all set to reach his 24th ODI century fell to a pull drive that landed into the hands of deep square-leg fielder Stuart Carlisle. Tendulkar's 85 came off 72 balls (7x4, 2x6). That was in the 25th over and in the remaining overs India lost Jadeja (retired hurt due to cramps), Amay Khurasia and Nikhil Chopra. Jadeja's was an adventurous effort (88 in 61 balls, 2x4, 6x6). It was a grand exhibition of hectic hitting. India's total of 245 for six really appeared huge in a 30 over match, and, it turned out to be so with India's pacemen Venkatesh Prasad (one wicket) and Mohanty (two wickets) setting a rattling pace.
Zimbabwe was reduced to 15 for three by the middle of the fourth over. No team could recover from that position to win a match in a 30-over match that too with such an imposing victory target. Zimbabwe at least tried to play all the remaining overs to leave the championship with some consolation. It did succeed in that finishing the day at 130 for eight in 29 over. Zimbabwe did not get all the 30 overs as it took longer time to finish its 30 overs to India. Andy Flower who had made 89 against the West Indies on Sept 2 batted brilliantly today too and was there till the end (63 not out in 69 balls with eight fours). Alistair Campbell (27) and Andrew Whittall (11 not out) were his notable partners of the day.