SA fights off Sehwag slaughter, India 261 for 9

Published: Thursday, September 26, 2002, 0:18 [IST]
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Colombo: South Africa survived a Virender Sehwag onslaught to restrict India to 261- 9 in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy One-day cricket tournament on Wednesday. The 24-year-old opener smashed a 58-ball 59 to put India on course for a big total before South Africa struck back with its tidy bowling and smart fielding in the day- night game at the Premadasa Stadium. Fast bowler Shaun Pollock did not allow India to make the most of the slog overs as he grabbed three wickets in the penultimate over of the innings to finish with 3-43. Fellow paceman Allan Donald took 2-41. Yuvraj Singh (62) and Rahul Dravid (49) were the other main run-getters, but India's total still fell below its expectations. The left-handed Yuvraj hit six fours in his 72-ball knock for his seventh half-century. India got off to a brisk start after electing to bat on an easy wicket as it plundered 70 in the opening 10 overs, with Sehwag going for shots early in the innings. The dashing opener, who scored a 104-ball 126 against England in the previous match, began with two boundaries in Pollock's opening over. He continued in the same vein, greeting ace fast bowler Donald with a lofted shot over mid-on for a boundary. Runs came thick and fast when Sehwag was at the crease with none of the bowlers able to keep the pressure on him. Pollock conceded 28 in his opening four overs and fellow pacer Makhaya Ntini 37 in five. South Africa, however, succeeded in containing runs from the other end to bounce back into the game as it reduced India from 102-1 to 135-4. Skipper Saurav Ganguly (13) was the first to go, pulling Ntini straight to Boeta Dippenaar. Venkat Sai Laxman (22) executed a few handsome drives before edging Donald to wicket- keeper Mark Boucher, while batting star Sachin Tendulkar (16) failed to force the pace before being run out. Tendulkar turned debutant left-arm spinner Robin Peterson to point and went for a non-existent single before being sent back by Dravid, but could not beat a Jonty Rhodes throw to the wicket-keeper. The run-rate declined sharply after Sehwag's dismissal, caught pulling Jacques Kallis by Lance Klusener at mid-off after hitting 10 fours in his seventh half- century. India was struggling at 135-4 in the 26th over before being steadied by Dravid, who put on 72 for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj before being trapped leg before by Klusener.

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