Windies Quest - India wins after unruly crowd behaviour halts match

Published: Tuesday, November 12, 2002, 21:13 [IST]
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Rajkot: India was awarded the abandoned third One-day International against the West Indies on Tuesday but saw its image damaged as the match was called off because of crowd trouble.The hosts were cruising at 200 for 1 off 27.1 overs, chasing the imposing West Indies total of 300 for 5, when bottle-throwing spectators held up play and forced players to return to the safety of the pavilion.West Indian paceman Vasbert Drakes and substitute Ryan Hinds were hit with bottles thrown by a section of the crowd at the 18,000-capacity Madhavrao Scindia Stadium.International Cricket Council match referee Mike Procter of South Africa spoke to local officials and policemen before declaring India victors by 81 runs as per the Duckworth-Lewis system used for curtailed matches.India was ahead on the run-rate at that stage, but the West Indians still enjoy a 2-1 in the seven-match series after winning the first two matches at Jamshedpur and Nagpur -- also marred by crowd trouble.Virender Sehwag was India's hero with an unbeaten 114 off 82 balls, but the hosts' cricketing reputation nose-dived further due to unruly crowd behaviour."It's very unfortunate," said former India all-rounder and national selector Kirti Azad, who was a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning squad."It's against the spirit of the game. People should come to enjoy the game, not to disrupt it. The crowd behaviour was really strange because India seemed to be in a winning position."I'm really ashamed of what happened here."Sehwag and skipper Saurav Ganguly (72) put on a record 196 in 26.4 overs to remind the West Indies that it was not safe even after having posted a big total.Their stand was India's highest for the first wicket against the West Indies, surpassing the 176 between Sachin Tendulkar and Ajay Jadeja at Cuttack in 1994.Man-of-the-match Sehwag went on the rampage from the beginning, completing his third One-day century off just 75 balls. He struck two sixes and 17 fours in his unbeaten knock.Ganguly was caught by Shivnarine Chanderpaul at mid-off after hitting nine fours in his 83-ball knock to virtually reduce the game to a no-contest along with Sehwag.Sehwag's amazing onslaught overshadowed impressive half-centuries from Ramnaresh Sarwan (84), Chanderpaul (74) and opener Chris Gayle (72) after the tourists had been put in to bat.It was not a bowlers' day on the easy-paced pitch as the West Indians and Indians both struggled for wickets.It was the Indian bowlers who had suffered in the morning session as Sarwan led a West Indies run-spree. The 22-year-old put on 149 for the fourth wicket with fellow-Guyanese Chanderpaul.The West Indies was led by Ridley Jacobs in the absence of Carl Hooper who was rested due to a knee-injury, but it hardly missed its captain's batting prowess.Sarwan hit two sixes and six fours during his second half-century in three matches.

Copyright AFP 2001

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