Durban: Ashish Nehra claimed a career-best six for 23, the third best in World Cup history, as India defeated England by 82 runs on Wednesday to virtually book its place in the Super Sixes.
Left-arm quick Nehra, 23, who only managed one ball against Namibia on Sunday before spraining his ankle, showed little sign of the injury as he returned the best figures of the tournament so far, surpassing the six for 25 by fellow left-armer Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka against Bangladesh. Nehra's haul has only been bettered by West Indian Winston Davis' seven for 51 against Australia in 1983 and Australian Gary Gilmour's six for 14 against England in the 1975 semi-final in the World Cup record books.
"I have been working with my physio Andrew Leipus for the last two days and it was down to him that I made it," said Nehra after being named man-of-the-match. "I really wanted to play because it was a big game. I wanted to bowl a good line and length as there was plenty of bounce in the wicket." Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly, who had won the toss and batted first, was full of praise for his players. "It was an outstanding win," he said. "Ever since we lost to Australia in the first game, we have picked it up.
I always intended to bat first because we have played here before and I knew that the ball always seams around at night. "Nehra has had a swollen ankle for two days and it was sheer determination that made him play. He kept a fantastic line," said Ganguly. England captain Nasser Hussain admitted the toss was crucial. "It was our turn to be on the other side of the equation tonight (Friday)," said Hussain referring to his winning the toss against Pakistan in its day-nighter at Newlands last weekend, which England won.
"Batting under lights is very difficult but all credit to India. The ball was zipping around, they got it right and played very well." Copyright AFP 2001