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WC 2003 - We need to pick up overall intensity on field: Saurav

Published: Saturday, March 8, 2003, 21:11 [IST]
 
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Cape Town: Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly said his team was lucky to have won its World Cup Super Six game against Kenya on Friday and needed to improve its bowling and fielding for the remaining games."We were lucky enough to have won this match. We didn't field well at all but that happens on some days. We just need to pick up our fielding and overall intensity on the field," Ganguly said after India recovered from a precarious 24 for three to pull off a six-wicket victory in the day-night game.

Kenya rode on a number of dropped catches and fielding lapses to post a respectable 225 for six, a total which Ganguly felt should not have been allowed.Ganguly, who led the way with a magnificent unbeaten century, admitted that his side was in trouble when three batsmen had been dismissed with just 24 runs on the board and praised Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh for their important knocks."I think Rahul played really well and so did Yuvraj. I feel Yuvraj's innings was an absolute blinder," he said.

Dravid made 32 and put on 84-runs for the fourth wicket with Ganguly while Yuvraj played another match-winning knock of 58 not out.However, it was Ganguly, expectedly declared the man-of-the-match, who ensured India's win with his 21st One-day century. "Yes, it was a captain's knock. It is easier said than done but I am happy I got a hundred today," he said. "I hope it was just one of those days. It's got to do with the mind of the players. If Mohammed Kaif who is among the best in the team drops a catch, if Dinesh Mongia who is as good as anybody drops a catch, then we do not have much to say," Ganguly said.

"They know it themselves what they have done. They were not the hardest of chances and they went to the best of fielders," he said. India dropped no less than four catches in the field, including two against the top-scorer Kennedy Otieno. But Ganguly did not think his team was complacent and took it easy against the greenhorns after a thumping victory against Pakistan at Centurion Park last week. "We had six days after the game. So whatever the mental tiredness or stress, we should have got over it.

I simply think the boys were not up for this game this morning. "These small teams have always given some of the better teams a scare. Kenya beat Sri Lanka the other day and they gave us a scare today. If we had not beaten them, we would have had to beat either Sri Lanka or New Zealand and it would have been a huge, huge risk," he said. Ganguly spared his bowlers for conceding Kenya the highest total they have managed so far in this World Cup. "Ashish Nehra bowled well and Dinesh Mongia did a particularly good job as a fifth bowler. If we had taken ourcatches, it would have probably looked better." Ganguly admitted he felt the pressure at the loss of three early wickets but realised he needed to take a bit of risk to ensure the run-rate did not become too steep.

"I began taking risks because you could chase till it is six but not when it is seven. Once it had gone to six, we had to do something to keep it below six," Ganguly said.Ganguly said the wicket favoured swing bowling under lights but was a belter of a strip under hot sun in the afternoon. "It did swing around a bit under lights. But it was a beauty of a wicket when you bat first in a day-nighter."Ganguly praised the young leg spinner Collins Obuya for initially conceding only 5 runs from his four overs. "He bowled his first four overs for five runs before we decided to hit him.

He doesn't have much experience and also not enough variations at the moment. But he gets a lot of bounce... only if he could have a flipper to keep the batsmen guessing," Ganguly said.Tikolo felt his side had set a difficult enough target for India under lights in but the bowlers bowled badly at a critical stage of the game. "I thought 225 was enough on this particular ground given the history of this place.

But Maurice (Odumbe) didn't bowl well and we struggled to contain their batsmen." Odumbe went for 25 runs in his three overs and took the pressure off India which was struggling at 108 for 4 at one stage. Tikolo also mentioned his side has batted too conservatively in this World Cup so far and probably it was time they batted aggressively in the middle overs."We didn't score too well in the middle overs and had a chance to put bigger total than we put today. We have been talking about it and probably in one of the games, we need to go out and play aggressively."

Tikolo pleaded for Kenya to be given Test recognition after its performance in the World Cup. He also hoped Kenya's good show would allow the game to take roots in his nation. "As a Test nation, our performance is there for all to see. I believe we have proved ourselves." PTI

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