IND, Zim in full swing for crunch game

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2000, 21:10 [IST]
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Kanpur: Having stumbled at the finishing post in Jodhpur after performing admirably in the first two encounters, Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly and company would be hoping to avoid any last minute lapse to wrap up the One-day series against Zimbabwe in the fourth contest at the Green Park Stadium here on Monday.In fact, a lot will be at stake for both India and Zimbabwe with the hosts looking to get their act together to hit the bull's eye and the visitors wishing to repeat their heroics and verdict of the third One-dayer to stay in the hunt.The workouts of both the teams stretched for more than four hours and this keenness was comprehendible as the two sides do not want to leave any stone unturned to finish their tasks at hands in fashion.

India still have a candid psychological edge over Heath Streak-led Zimbabwe with a 2-1 lead in the five-match One-day series, but the clobbering and scare that they received in the pulsating Jodhpur tie, where the hosts lost the game by one wicket and one ball to spare, do not augur well for the battle ahead.Okay, the loss looked more a case of having one bad day or opponents proving to be better team on that day. But what would you say for a team, which is notorious for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Though the national squad has refused to wilt under pressure and shown tremendous temperament in crunch situations, they should not forget a fact that the Africans have a habit of upsetting the apple-cart. Thus, cautious execution is the buzzword for the Indians.''This match is very, very crucial for us. After doing all the hard work to win at Cuttack and Ahmedabad, we cannot do the same in the Sun city as our bowlers failed to protect a hefty total. We have to complete the series win at any cost on Monday,'' says a determined Ganguly after nets.

Blaming poor bowling for team's defeat on Friday as all frontline bowlers went for runs galore except Zaheer Khan, who also served with the bat hitting four consecutive sixes in the last over of the innings, Saurav and team coach John Wright rightly instructed bowlers to tighten the belt and discipline their proceedings.Wright said, ''There is a positive sign as boys accepting their mistakes and not making any excuses. The lads want to learn and improve.

But they have to lift their bowling and fielding standards.'' About the team composition, Ganguly announced the thirteen, keeping out all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi, and assured that two young chaps will figure in the final eleven. The only point of interest is whether the hosts will go in with two specialist spinners, which means Tamil Nadu tweaker Aashish Kapoor will accompany left-hand spinner Sunil Joshi, or have a toss between Delhi batsman Virender Sehwag and Tamil Nadu all-rounder Sridharan Sriram, who claimed three wickets in the 61-run Ahmedabad victory, in place of Sodhi.

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