Windies braves hostility to clinch last-ball thriller

Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2002, 23:24 [IST]
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Jamshedpur: Ramnaresh Sarwan smashed a last-ball four to guide the West Indies to a thrilling four-wicket victory over India in a One-day International marred by crowd trouble on Wednesday.

The game was interrupted twice by missile-throwing spectators before the West Indies surpassed India's 283 for six in fading light for a 1-0 lead in the seven-match series. The Caribbean team finished on 285 for six off the last ball. The West Indies needed three to win off the last delivery and found the right man in Sarwan, who kept his cool in mounting tension to smash Ajit Agarkar through the covers for the winning boundary. The 22-year-old Guyanese, who remained unbeaten with a career best 83, built on a brilliant 93 by opener Wavell Hinds. The West Indies was 271 for four in the 47th over when unruly crowd behaviour forced the players off the field, requiring the presence of South African match referee Mike Proctor on the field. When play resumed after a short break, the West Indies lost Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the penultimate over and Ridley Jacobs in the last over before man-of-the-match Sarwan came up with the winning runs. "We batted brilliantly," said West Indian captain Carl Hooper. Credit should go to the boys. The interruption broke the momentum, but the boys came back strongly." Earlier, India's total owed much of its substance to Agarkar, who came in to bat as a pinch-hitter and went on to smash a career best 95 off 101 balls with the help of two sixes and 11 fours. India was struggling at 49 for two after electing to bat on a slow pitch at the Keenan Stadium before Agarkar put on 98 for the third wicket with V V S Laxman (47) and 75 for the next with Rahul Dravid (46 not out). Hinds matched Agarkar's effort with his rich stroke-play as he added 86 for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels (51) and 87 for the next with Sarwan. Hinds never curbed his strokes, hitting Nehra for three successive fours and hoisting leg spinner Anil Kumble over long-on and long-off for two sixes. Samuels also played elegant shots during his sixth half-century before he became leg spinner Anil Kumble's 300th One-day victim. Sarwan then completed the job with his 89-ball knock, cracking three sixes and six fours. "We posted a big total, but failed to defend it. I think we didn't bowl well," Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly conceded. India had to rely on Agarkar to overcome a shaky start as the pinch-hitter set the stage for a late onslaught with his aggressive knock. The hosts plundered 69 in the last 10 overs, with Mohammed Kaif scoring an 18-ball 31 not out. Agarkar, whose previous best was an unbeaten 67 against Zimbabwe at home two years ago, dominated the rival attack during his 101-ball knock.

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