Rain stalls India's charge

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Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 21:37 [IST]
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Rain stalls India's charge

Rain played spoilsport, stalling India's charge towards the target of 316 at 203/5 in the 36th over. India had got off to a strong start, putting on 67 for the first wicket in 9.4 overs. But some resurgent bowling and fielding from the Kiwis, pegged India back to 108/4 in the 20th over and then 188/5 in the 34th over. As of now, India are 15 runs behind in the Duckworth/Lewis method of scoring and if there is to be no more play, New Zealand will be comfortable winners.

India's innings got off to a slighty cautious start with Gautam Gambhir and his new opening partner Parthiv Patel, just fending off Kiwi seamers Kyle Mills and Tim Southee. But soon enough Patel hit his stride. He got Mills away for two fours in the 5th over and then in the next, smashed Southee for two more. India were 30/0 after 6 overs. Gambhir and Patel kept the momentum going, picking Mills for 9 runs in the 7th over.

Then in the next over, Gambhir got into the act, smacking McKay for two consecutive boundaries, one a beautiful cover-drive and one down the leg side. Then it was Patel's turn to swing again and he swung at Mills for two more fours in the 9th over. India had raced to 60/0 after 9 overs.

But then against the run of play, Gambhir cut McKay straight to Martin Guptill at point, getting out for a pacy 27 off 24 balls. McKay got a second strike just two balls later, when the new batsman Virat Kohli top-edged a bouncer straight down the throat of Kyle Mills at long leg. India were in some distress at 68/2 with Yuvraj Singh, the new man at the crease. A period of rebuilding was in order.

Yuvraj stuck around just long enough for India to cross the 100-run mark before pulling McCullum into the hands of Jamie How at midwicket. The comeback man - Rohit Sharma - was the next man to take guard at India stuttering on 103/3 in 17.4 overs. Sharma immediately came in for some luck when he had inside-edged a ball off Vettori which was caught by McCullum. The umpire was unmoved and Sharma survived.

But in the next over, McCullum had Patel caught at long-on and India were floundering on 107/4 in 19.3 overs. What followed was a few quiet overs as the new batsmen tried to play themselves in, reaching 130/4 in 25 overs. Sharma and Yusuf Pathan took India to over 150 in the 28th over and were steadily setting a base from which to launch a surge towards the target.

In the 30th over, Pathan and Sharma each took a four off McKay and in the next over, Pathan lofted Vettori for an almighty six over long-on. Sharma followed suit with a four in the 32nd over and India were at a healthy 179/4 at the completion of 32 overs.

But in a couple of overs, New Zealand pegged India back again when Southee got Sharma caught for 44 off 48 balls, by Vettori at mid-off. Saurab Tiwary was the last recognised batsmen to walk to the crease with India on a precarious 188/5. Soon after India crossed 200 in the 36th over, rain intervened, the players came off and the covers came on.

The day began with New Zealand correcting their batting woes at the top and making a positive start. After Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill got after Nehra and Praveen Kumar with a barrage of fours, Nehra got Guptill out for 30 off 25 balls with the score at 62 in the 9th over. Jamie How, who was demoted to one-down batsman, couldn't do much at his new position and went to Nehra for just 5.

McCullum joined them back in the shed, being sent back by R Ashwin and the score was at a shaky 91/3 in 13.2 overs. But then Ross Taylor and Scott Styris stabilised the innings and played out the bulk of the middle overs before Styris perished to Yusuf Pathan and the Kiwis were 170/4 in 29.4 overs. Franklin got off to a pacy start and kept up the momentum before his support - Taylor - was trapped in front by Ashwin for a watchful 44 and the Kiwis were stuttering at 210 for 5 in 37.1 overs.

But Franklin wouldn't back down and built useful little partnerships with the few remaining batsmen before launching into an all-out assault in the last five overs. He hit Nehra for two sixes and two fours in the final over, taking his side over 300 and to the eventual score of 315/7.


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