Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Ganguly, Dravid shower praise on Kaif

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 21:07 [IST]
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Lahore:Captain Sourav Ganguly heaped praise on his deputy Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Kaif after the duo played a crucial role in India's spirited five-wicket victory against Pakistan in Lahore on Wednesday.

Ganguly said he was a "big fan of Kaif" while Dravid also praised the middle-order batsman saying the youngster "brings a lot to the team" with his electric fielding and steady batting in the middle order.

"It was a fantastic effort by Dravid and Kaif. I am a big fan of Kaif. He does a great job coming in at number seven which is a difficult position to bat at in One-dayers," Ganguly said after India's series-levelling win.

Dravid and Kaif shared a record 132-run partnership for the unbroken sixth wicket as India recovered from 94 for four to canter to victory with five overs to spare.

Dravid also shared a vital 68-run stand with Yuvraj Singh before Kaif joined him at the crease. "Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) played really very well, there was no point in asking him to stop playing those shots. And then Kaif came along and batted with great temperament," Dravid said.

"Kaif brings a lot to the team with his brilliant fielding and matured batting. It is always nice to have such a player in the team," he said.

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq, declared Man of the Match for scoring his second century of the tournament only to end on the losing side once more, said his bowlers let the team down.

Pakistan conceded 37 extras including 19 wides and 9 no balls, which undid the initial good work of Shoaib Akhtar who ripped through the Indian top order.

"Our bowlers did not bowl the right line and length. We have been working a lot on containing the extra deliveries but we have not had the result. The bowlers are working hard but unfortunately, they losetheir temperament when playing under pressure," Inzamam said.

Both Ganguly and Inzamam agreed the Lahore track was a good wicket to bat on. The Indian captain went to the extent of saying that the track was so good that it did not matter which team won the toss.

"I don't think the toss has really mattered in this series. Except for Peshawar where there was some juice early in the day, the wickets in this series have been good to bat on," he said.

Both the captains were overwhelmed by the "fantastic atmosphere" at the Gadaffi Stadium that included Indian fans who had come in thousands to cheer their national team.

"It was nice to see fans from two countries come together and I hope there is similar atmosphere for the final match," Inzamam said.

Ganguly said: "It was a fantastic atmosphere and we thank all the fans who have come all the way to cheer us. But there is still enough work to be done and I hope they wait for another three days ".

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