WC 2003 - Ganguly, Sachin happy to bring smiles back on fans faces

Published: Sunday, March 2, 2003, 21:41 [IST]
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Centurion: A relieved but delighted Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly and master batsman Sachin Tendulkar Saturday said they were extremely satisfied to have brought the smiles back on the faces of the Indian fanswith an emphatic victory against Pakistan in a World Cup match."I can't say how happy I am. It was a huge game back home. Schools were closed, offices were closed and now people can smile," Ganguly said after India's memorable six-wicket win.

Just two weeks back the team had been at the receiving end of angry protests from fans back home following the humiliating loss to Australia. However, with convincing wins against Zimbabwe, Namibia, England and now Pakistan, India's World Cup campaign is back on track.Tendulkar, whose smashing 98-run knock was mainly responsible for India's victory, said the team will do its best to ensure that the celebrations keep on going. "I was hearing for a year and half now that we are going to play Pakistan on March 1.

I am happy people back home are smiling now," he said. "My wife just called me to say there is big celebration going on. We hope to continue to do well in the remaining matches so that the celebrations can keep on going," he said. Ganguly, who himself got out to a first ball nought, paid tribute to a great innings from Tendulkar which the maestro himself described as "one of the most important of his career"."It's not the first time Sachin has done it. He is a champion cricketer," he said. "But Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh also played critical roles.

Tendulkar set the example and everyone followed. It was a super knock under pressure."Ganguly rated this victory against Pakistan as better than other triumphs against the arch-rivals in previous World Cups. "I thought this was a better win since we were in a difficult group and have now qualified so convincingly. This win will also allow us to carry points in Super Six stage and that's pleasing.

"Ganguly admitted his bowlers suffered from bouts of nerves in the initial stage of Pakistan innings but said that was understandable. "You could see it in both the sides. There were bouts of nerves. It's India-Pakistan game and with the crowd behind you and millions following it back home, it isnatural for bowlers to take four or five overs to settle down."But once they settled down, I thought they did a pretty good job in restricting Pakistan to 273 for seven on a good batting pitch." PTI

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