India searches for form as New Zealand goes for kill

Published: Friday, January 3, 2003, 18:37 [IST]
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Queenstown: New Zealand on Friday looked in no mood to show any mercy on a hapless India as it prepared to wrap up the series with a victory in the fourth One-day International.

"We're determined to finish the series here," said New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming ahead of Saturday's match, the first One-dayer to be played at the picturesque Queenstown Events Centre surrounded by lakes and mountains. New Zealand is just a win away from settling the issue as it has already gained a 3- 0 lead in the ongoing seven-match series. "It'll be nice to win the match and series, but we're aware the series is still alive," said Fleming, who has already set his sights on next month's World Cup in South Africa. New Zealand included three all-rounders in Chris Harris, Andre Adams and Scott Styris in a bid to find the right combinations for the upcoming World Cup. "It's good to have him (Harris) back," said Fleming. "He's got a lot of experience and that's something we're going to call upon, not only in this series but also in the World Cup. "It's important we can work on different bowling combinations, like how to use Harris effectively and how to use Adams at the death because the tournament is going to be a lot more difficult in South Africa." Fleming said he was most pleased with the combination of Daryl Tuffey and Jacob Oram, who played big roles in their team's victories in both the Tests and the first three One-dayers against the tourists. India captain Saurav Ganguly conceded his team was under pressure to perform, saying it was not easy winning four matches in a row. "It's an important game for us," said Ganguly. "There's pressure on the team to do well. There's pressure on every player as none of us has fired on this tour." Batting was India's major worry in both the Tests and the three One-dayers as none of its stars could cope with a disciplined New Zealand pace attack on seamer- friendly pitches. Sachin Tendulkar's fitness also added to India's problems as the master batsman missed the first three games due to an ankle injury. He remained doubtful for Saturday's match. "We are trying to get him fit, but we will have to wait and see tomorrow (Saturday)," said Ganguly. He said India needed to change its batting approach on such pitches, as most of his batsmen were "not hitting the ball properly, but only nicking them". "We'll have to change our batting approach... we've not lasted 50 overs," Ganguly said, while trying to project optimism. "We still have a chance, but it's going to be difficult. I hope we do it (win) this time. You never know. Once it starts, everything may fall back in places again," he said. The rival captains declined to predict the nature of the wicket. "I've given up (commenting on pitches). I thought Christchurch (where India was shot out for 108) was a belter," said Ganguly. Fleming similarly said, "It looks pretty good but I've been deceived throughout this summer, so I'll wait until the first ball is bowled." New Zealand (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Nathan Astle, Mathew Sinclair, Craig McMillan, Jacob Oram, Chris Harris, Andre Adams, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey and Daniel Vettori. India (from): Saurav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Mongia, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Sanjay Bangar, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra, Venkatsai Laxman, Anil Kumble, Parthiv Patel and Rakesh Patel.

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