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Thatscricket - News - NZ flatters at the death, posts lowly 211

Published: Friday, July 20, 2001, 23:43 [IST]
 
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Bangalore: India, on Friday, restricted New Zealand to a lowly 211 in its opening encounter in the Coca Cola tri-series being played at the R Premadasa Stadium at Colombo.The New Zealanders had only themselves to blame as they failed to launch into the Indian bowling in the last 10 overs and so failed to cash in on the good work done by Astle, who excelled with his bat and helped lay the platform for the final blast -the last ten overs yielding a poor 41 runs.The Black Caps undoing was their inability to handle spinners and to some poor planning at the death. It was Adam Parore who came unstuck, as he played a poor innings of nine coming off 22 deliveries when much more was needed from him coming in in the 39th over.Apart from Parores lacklustre effort, the loss of Harris (run out) immediately after the fall of Lou Vincent also proved to be very dear to New Zealand as he was one player who could have upped the tempo with his crisp batting and quick running between wickets, which would have got New Zealand those crucial 20 odd runs. For the Black Caps, it was Astles effort of 117, who dug a lone furrow to notch up his 10th century, that saved some face. He stood alone, as none of the other middle order batsmen were able to consolidate on a start. The Indians were lucky, in that despite going in with only three specialist bowlers they ended up restricting New Zealand to 211. Indias 4th and 5th bowlers Yuvraj, Sehwag, Sodhi and Badani were far from impressive. It was Harbhajans tight spell of 10 overs two for 25 which did the trick for India. Having chosen to put the runs on the board, what the Black Caps least expected was to lose a wicket off the very first delivery. Matthew Sinclair, who was trapped lbw in the pervious encounter, played down the wrong line to Zaheer, to a delivery which came back and was struck plumb in front.New Zealand all most had another scare in the second over when a Nehra delivery squeezed through Astles pads and went on to hit the base of the stumps but as luck may have it the bails stayed put. It probably is the kind of break one needs and New Zealand and Astle gladly accepted it and went about their job of rebuilding the innings. Skipper Fleming and Astle opened up, after a cautious six overs- six overs yielding only 20 runs, and executed some exquisitely time shots dotted with some well judged singles to take the score to 61 in the 12th over; at which time Ganguly had already tried Reetinder Sodhi.Ganguly then effected a double-spin change bringing on Harbhajan and Sehwag in an effort to slow down the pace of the game. The move paid dividends as Harbhajan soon had the New Zealanders feeling for the ball and in the 17th over he dismissed skipper Fleming, caught by Sehwag at slips to reduce New Zealand to 70 for two at the end of 17 overs.Astle and Craig McMillan then managed to negotiate the attack to ease, to some extent, the vice like grip the Indian spinners had on them. When things looked like easing a little bit, McMillan trod down the pitch in a predetermined manner to hand Yuvraj his second ODI wicket and to have the scoreboard reading 106 for 3 in the 26th over. Astle and Lou Vincent then went about building the innings and put on 52 runs for the fourth wicket in what can be termed as a crucial partnership in the context of New Zealands innings; the 50 of the partnership coming off 60 balls. This prompted Ganguly to bring on his strike bowler Harbhajan in the 37th over and immediately the Turbunator struck dismissing Vincent caught by Yuvraj at backward square-leg trying to sweep.New Zealand suffered another blow when Chris Harris was needlessly run out to have the Black caps in, more than, a spot of bother at 163 for five in the 39th over. The loss of Harris proved costly as the new batsman Parore took a lot of time to settle down and the Kiwis lost vital time. From 170 for 5 in the 40th over, New Zealand mustered a mere 20 runs in the next six and when Parore eventually got out in the 47th over New Zealand was 190 for six in 46.2 overs.Although, New Zealand tried hard to get in some big runs it could muster just few more runs in the face of some tight bowling by Zaheer Khan at the death.

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