Thatscricket - News - Weve to hold our nerve in final, says Ganguly

Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: India hopes to shed its chokers' tag when it clashes with Sri Lanka in the day-night final of the triangular One-day cricket series at the Premadasa Stadium on Sunday.Skipper Saurav Ganguly is worried that India has made a habit of losing matches that matter most, saying his men must hold their nerve in important games.India has lost seven finals since April 1999 when Pakistan outplayed them at Bangalore. The latest defeat came last month when they lost to the West Indies in Zimbabwe."We want to break this cycle," Indian coach John Wright said on Saturday. "We hope to do it on Sunday. We have got to win this final." Ganguly said his team would have to cross the final hurdle to silence the critics."We have to win the final to prove that we are really a good team. The boys know that they have not won the final for a long time. It is time to deliver," he said. "We have played good cricket in the last three matches. I am happy with the way we have fought back after losing three successive games."India was facing elimination after having lost twice to New Zealand and once to Sri Lanka in its first three matches, batting being its main worry in low-scoring games on slow pitches.Indias bowlers fared batter, with off spinner Harbhajan Singh and left-arm pacemen Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan doing a commendable job. Ganguly praised the youngsters for playing crucial roles in the last three wins, which helped his team qualify for the final.Left-handed batsman Yuvraj Singh scored a career-best unbeaten 98 in India's 46-run victory over Sri Lanka in the fifth match on Wednesday.Makeshift opener Virender Sehwag then cracked a 69-ball century, the seventh fastest in One-dayers, against New Zealand to shape his team's seven-wicket win on Thursday. "The youngsters have been playing very well in this tournament. I hope they will continue their good work," Ganguly said. Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya conceded that India could be dangerous in the final, especially after its three consecutive victories."India could be a threat as it has come back strongly after losing the first three games," he said. "It is going to be a tough game."Sri Lanka lost only two of its six league games, both to India, but Jayasuriya said the past results had not affected his team's morale. "Those defeats don't matter because the final is a different game altogether. We are certainly not under pressure," he said.Jayasuriya, however, was looking forward to a better performance from his batsmen who let the team down in the last two games against India. "Our batting has not been consistent. I hope the batsmen put up a better show in the final," he said, referring to his team's totals of 183 and 181 against India.The teams: India: Saurav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag, Venkat Sai Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Hemang Badani, Yuvraj Singh, Reetinder Sodhi, Sameer Dighe, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Amay Khurasia, Ajit Agarkar, Debashish Mohanty and Rahul Sanghvi.Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Avishka Gunawardene, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold, Suresh Perera, Kumar Dharmasena, Muthiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando, Chaminda Vaas, Chamara Silva, Dulip Liyanage, Kumar Sangakkara and Dinusha Fernando.

Copyright AFP 2001


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