IND, Zim in full swing for crunch game

Published: Monday, December 4, 2000, 23:20 [IST]
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For India, whether batting first or second, much will again depend on the 'big three' of the team -Saurav, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, to be strengthened by the 'second string' comprising young guns like Yuvraj Singh and Hemang Badani, who played a poised knock to earn a three-wicket victory in the first tie at Cuttack. However, the failure of left-handed sensation Yuvraj Singh, who scored only 33 runs in the last three matches, must be a cause of worry for his skipper. But Ganguly showed enough confidence in the Punjab batsman. It is high time Yuvraj delivered the due. On the other hand, the Zimbabweans are bound to have a string in their stride after the Jodhpur victory and there is understandable fillip in the confidence level. Besides the first win on Indian soil, Streak is more happy for the way his crew bounced back to stay alive in the tournament. ''We were in dire need of a win.

This gain has led a fresh surge of activity to better the drill,'' he added. The Zimbabwe captain hoped that his batsmen would rise to the occasion and play to their potential. Streak said a score of 250-260 should be a competitive one this bald track. The tourists have a strong batting line-up with the Flower brothers profusely among runs. Besides, Alistair Campbell, Stuart Carlisle, Streak and surprise inclusion Mluleki Nkala are all capable of putting a productive Show.It is in the bowling department that the visiting team need to pull up their socks.

Looking worried for its pedestrian bowling stuff, Streak as usual advised his bowlers to maintain their line and length and compel the batsmen to play.It is a ground that holds special significance for batting maestro Tendulkar who rained seven sixers in his fiery century against Australia here two-and-a-half years ago, breaking Kapil Dev's record of six skiers against Zimbabwe in 1983. The locals will be hoping that Sachin, who tormented the Zimbabweans to hit his 27th One-day century in their last encounter, springs to life again in vintage style.

Statistically, Green Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Indians winning four of the six One-dayers allotted to the venue. The hosts defeated Zimbabwe by 40 runs on this ground in the 1996 Wills World Cup. The lush green outfield and a promise of a pitch full of runs raise a vision of a lively humdinger.

Teams(from): India: Saurav Ganguly (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Hemang Badani, Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Vijay Dahiya, Sunil Joshi, Ajit Agarkar, Sridharan Sriram, Venkatesh Prasad,Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Aashish Kapoor.

Umpires: C K Sathe and Devendra Sharma
Third umpire: G A Pratap Kumar
Match referee: Barry Jarman.UNI

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