Durban: Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra recorded the best ever World Cup figures by an Indian bowler on Wednesday as his six wickets sent England crashing to an 82-run defeat. Nehra, who was in doubt before the crucial game with an ankle injury, bowled an inspired spell making the most of the swinging conditions in the night-time air under the Kingsmead lights to finish with 6 for 23 off his ten overs with England finishing on 168 all out in reply to India's 250 for 9.
England had no answer to the 23-year-old's devastating spell as skipper Nasser Hussain (15) and Alec Stewart (0) fell in successive balls to be followed later by Michael Vaughan (20), Paul Collingwood (18), Craig White (13) and Ronnie Irani (0). Hussain, Vaughan and White were all caught behind by Rahul Dravid in almost identical dismissals. The win moved India into second place in the group 'A' table with 16 points and a huge step closer to the next stage.
India is just behind defending champion Australia who also has 16 points but has played a game less. India now faces Pakistan in its final group game at Centurion on Saturday while England will have to beat Australia in Port Elizabeth on Sunday to have any chance of progressing into the next round. Only Andy Flintoff offered any resistance, making 64 off 73 balls, before he was brilliantly caught by Virender Sehwag off Javagal Srinath, to add to his earlier bowling spell of 2 for 15 off ten overs where he claimed the wickets of Sehwag (23) and danger-man Sachin Tendulkar (50).
Tendulkar's half-century came at a run-a-ball, including one six and eight fours before Dravid's 62 got India up to a competitive 250 for nine from its 50 overs. He reached his fifty with a six off James Anderson before he was eventually out in the last over, caught at long-on by Collingwood off Andrew Caddick. That was the start of a mini-collapse that saw India lose four wickets off the last four balls of the innings, including a run-out.
India, 91 for one after 15 overs following captain Saurav Ganguly's decision to bat first, seemed set for a huge score but then just 40 runs came in the next 15 overs. However, Yuvraj Singh added late impetus with a 38-ball 42 before he was caught at short extra-cover by Hussain off Anderson. Copyright AFP 2001