Cuttack: Mohammad Kaif hit 64 to help India reach a competitve 246 for nine against New Zealand in a triangular One-day series match here. The middle-order batsman hit five fours in his sixth half-century on a low, slow wicket at the Barabati stadium that made stroke making difficult. Kaif put on 50 for the second wicket with opener Venkatsai Laxman (31) and 59 for the third with captain Rahul Dravid (31).
Tail-ender Zaheer Khan then plundered 20 runs in the last over of the innings by seamer Jacob Oram to remain unbeaten on a brisk 33 off 13 balls with two sixes and three fours. Seamers Scott Styris and Daryl Tuffey each grabbed three wickets and left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori two to restrict India to a modest total before Zaheer's last- over fireworks. Hemang Badani (41) was the other notable contributor after the early dismissal of star batsman Sachin Tendulkar (14), trapped leg-before by seamer Kyle Mills.
New Zealand, winless after three matches, never allowed the Indian batsmen to build a big partnership in the day-night game. Vettori played a big role in containing runs, removing Dravid and Yuvraj Singh (nought) in the space of four balls. Dravid uppishly drove the spinner to mid-wicket where Styris made no mistake, while Yuvraj went for a big shot early in his innings and was caught by Mills in the deep.
Styris then dismissed the well-set Kaif, who chopped the ball on to his stumps after facing 108 balls. India made three changes from the team that lost to world champions Australia by 77 runs at Bombay last Saturday. Spinners Murali Kartik and Sairaj Bahutule, and Badani came in place of opener Virender Sehwag, wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel and leg-spinner Anil Kumble. New Zealand replaced an unfit all-rounder Chris Cairns with seamer Mills for the only change from the team that lost to Australia by two wickets at Pune on Monday. Australia have already ensured a place in the November 18 final at Calcutta after winning three of their four matches.
|Copyright AFP 2001|