Cape Town: Indian captain Saurav Ganguly hit an unbeaten 107 to steer his side out of trouble and lead them to a six-wicket victory in their World Cup Super Six match against Kenya at Newlands on Friday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
India were in trouble at 24-3 in reply to Kenya's 225-6 before Ganguly put on 84 for the fourth wicket with Rahul Dravid (32) and an unbroken 118 for the fifth with fellow left-hander Yuvraj Singh, who made 58 not out. Earlier, Kenyan opening batsman Kennedy Otieno rode his luck, surviving three chances in an innings of 79 as the unfancied African side made a competitive total after winning the toss and batting on a good pitch.
With only four out of 19 day-night internationals at Newlands having been won by the side batting second, it seemed the trend might continue when India lost their first three wickets inside 10 overs.Virender Sehwag edged a drive against Thomas Odoyo to second slip before Sachin Tendulkar, the batting star of the tournament, flicked Martin Suji to backward square leg for Tony Suji to make a diving catch.It sparked unrestrained celebrations from the Kenyans, who were surprise qualifiers for the Super Six.
There was more joy for the Africans when Mohammad Kaif was trapped leg before by Odoyo.Ganguly showed steely resolve as he went to his 21st One-day International century, second only behind Tendulkar's tally of 34 in the all-time list."We were in trouble when we lost three early wickets so we had to build partnerships," Ganguly said."I thought that Yuvraj Singh played a blinder to keep the run-rate going."We didn't really bowl very well. We were lucky and we will have to pick up our intensity level from now on because we have two tough games ahead against Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
"Leg-spinner Collins Obuya gave Kenya another glimpse of glory when he caught Dravid off his own bowling and conceded only five runs in his first four overs.But Yuvraj continued the fine form he showed against Pakistan last Saturday as India clinched victory with 13 balls to spare. Ganguly made his 107 off 120 balls with 11 fours and two sixes, while Yuvraj faced 64 balls and hit seven fours.Kenyan captain Steve Tikoko was disappointed at the result.
"We performed very well to get 225 but in the middle of the innings we didn't really keep rotating the strike so we probably missed out on another 20 or 30 runs," he said.India's task was made more difficult by some shoddy fielding, with Otieno, four days short of his 31st birthday, the main beneficiary during his 134-ball innings, which included six fours and two sixes. Otieno and Ravindu Shah put on 75 before Shah was run out for 34 after a mix-up with his long-time opening partner. But India should have dismissed the openers much earlier, at one stage dropping both off successive deliveries.
Otieno was put down by Harbhajan Singh at square leg off Ashish Nehra when he had 11 and the total was on 32 and off the next ball Shah, on 19, was dropped by Dinesh Mongia at slip. Otieno and Thomas Odoyo (32) shared a 76-run stand for the third wicket before Otieno was bowled between bat and pad by a sharply-turning off-break from Harbhajan, seven runs after being dropped on the midwicket boundary by Mongia off the same bowler. Maurice Odumbe hit an unbeaten 34 off 24 balls as Kenya pushed up their scoring rate in the closing overs. He too survived a dropped catch, with Ganguly failing to hold on to a drive at cover off Harbhajan.Copyright AFP 2001