Karthik, Zaheer take India to thrilling win

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Murali Kartik and Zaheer Khan celebrate after winning the Mumbai thrillerA brilliant unbeaten 52 run partnership for the ninth wicket between Zaheer Khan and Murali Kartik took India to a scintillating two wicket win over Australia in the seventh and final ODI at the Wankhede stadium here today.

Chasing a target of 194 by Australia, India made 195 for eight with four over remaining to notch up a consolation win over the world champions.

Australia however won the seven match series for the Future Cup 4-2 with one match being washed out by rain.

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Murali Kartik the man of the match had earlier put in his best ever bowling performance taking 6-27 to skittle out Australia for a modest 193 all out in 41.3 overs and then joined hands with Zaheer Khan to take India to an improbable victory, after being 143 for eight at one stage and staring defeat.

However the two tailenders played sensible cricket defending stoutly and then attacking when the loose ball presented itself, with Zaheer Khan hitting Brett Lee for a huge six.

Zaheer remained unbeaten on 31 in 43 balls with three boundaries and a six while Kartik remained unbeaten on 21 which came in a stay of 34 balls and was studded with three boundaries.

India's top order chasing a modest target of 194 runs in 50 overs came unstuck, as they had no answer to the swing and pace of the Australian attack with Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken reducing India to 69 for six and the prospect of a 5-1 series loss for the Future Cup in front of them. With the target of 194 not an imposing one, it was imperative that India got off to a solid start. However, Mitchell Johnson had other ideas as he induced the edges from both Sourav Ganguly and Dinesh Karthik to leave India at 8-2.

Sachin Tendulkar, probably playing his final game at the Wankhede, sparkled briefly, with two glorious cuts for four off Johnson, but after making 21 inclusive of four glorius boundaries, he played on against Lee to leave India on 38 for three.

The introduction of Nathan Bracken put India into a deeper hole with Yuvraj Singh edging a delivery to Adam Gilchrist for 15 and then slanted one away from Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the same result.

Adam Gilchrist with the catch of Dhoni completed 400 catches in one-day internationals to leave India on the brink of another defeat at 63 for five.

Irfan Pathan also did not last long, edging to second slip where Michael Clarke took a smart catch off James Hopes with the scoreboard reading a dismal 64 for six.

However, Robin Uthappa had other ideas and with Harbhajan Singh he would found an able partner, as they put on a 50 run partnership for the seventh wicket with the former in glorious form as he spanked two huge sixes to slow down the relentless Australian march to another victory. But Robin Uthappa fell three short of a well deserved victory after putting on 65 runs for the seventh wicket being trapped in front of the wicket by Michael Clarke. Uthappa's 47 came in 59 balls with four fours and two towering sixes to leave India at 129 for seven.

Harbhajan Singh also followed soon as Australia sensed another victory edging one from Mitchell Johnson to Ricky Ponting in the slips for 19 with India on 143 for eight.

Earlier in the afternoon, a dream spell of spin bowling by Murali Kartik returning with his best ever figures of 6-27 in his ten overs restricted Australia to 193 all out in 41.3 overs .

Australia batting first on winning the toss were off to a disastrous start when Michael Clarke was dismissed of the first ball leg before to Zaheer Khan but Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting kept up the pressure on India as they resurrected the innings with a quickfire 55 ball 60 run stand for the second wicket.

Australia was also helped by the wayward bowling of R P Singh who struggled to get his line right on a wicket which had some juice in it as he bowled 4 wides in his first over to help Australia tide over the loss of Clarke on the very first ball.

Ponting was in sublime form as he took to R P Singh hitting him for three fours in an over to announce his arrival in style. At the other end Gilchrist who was given a reprieve by Robin Uthappa at second slip of Zaheer Khan when he was just on two, played some crashing cover drives as Australia brought up their 50 in just 7.3 overs.

However when the Australian score had reached 60, Adam Gilchrist tried to cut Irfan Pathan but the ball traveled straight to Harbhajan Singh at third man who did not make any mistake to leave Australia at 60-2 with Gilchrist making 19. Ponting and Hodge then put together a 57 run partnership in just 63 balls with Ricky Ponting in the meantime reaching his 50, the first captain to complete a half century of fifties, which came in just 63 balls with nine superbly timed hits to the fence.

The introduction of Murali Kartik in the 18th over put the brakes on Australia as he began with a maiden over and went one better in his next, bowling a maiden and also taking two wickets to put the Australians on the backfoot.

He first got the wicket of Brad Hodge who was caught at first slip by Dinesh Karthick for 16 which included two fours to leave the Australians on 117 for three. The new batsman Andrew Symonds who was welcomed to the crease with boos from the crowd, after his criticism of the Indian players and spectators, was out for a first ball duck hitting Kartik straight to covers and into the safe hands of Sachin Tendulkar to leave Australians in a bit of bother at 117 for four.

Ricky Ponting at the other end tried to steady the ship but after scoring 57 he too fell while trying to slash at a delivery from R P Singh only to get the top edge through to keeper Dhoni as Australia slumped to 127 for five.

Murali Kartik then got Brad Haddin caught plumb in front of his wicket playing back for 19 which was inclusive of 3 boundaries and then in his next over took two wickets in two balls getting Brad Hogg and Brett Lee both dismissed for zero as Australian batting collapsed for the first time being 162 for eight.

Kartik also got danger man James Hopes bowled for 22 as Australia struggled to 177 for nine, before the last wicket pair of Nathan Bracken and Mitchell Johnson put on a valuable 16 runs for the last wicket taking the Australians closer to the 200 run mark.


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