Super Six Stage: India v New Zealand|
Trent Bridge - 12 June 1999
CricInfo report by John Polack
Kiwi desperados pull through
After a fluctuating day's play in which the advantage seemed to switch from one team to the other again and again New Zealand emerged with a desperate five wicket victory over India at Trent Bridge today and hence kept alive their dream of winning this seventh World Cup. After a tremendous arm-wrestle which, courtesy of some tempestuous Nottingham rain, spanned over nine hours, the Kiwis recorded their win when the heroic Roger Twose swung the second ball of the forty-ninth over through square leg for four, ushering in jubilant scenes from the few Kiwi fans who had stayed late into the Nottingham evening to behold the triumph.
This was a match which the New Zealanders simply had to win to maintain any hope of remaining in the tournament, and this was a match in which they indeed triumphed in desperate style.
Essentially, it was two batsmen who came together with their team in peril in the twenty-first over of their innings who were the real stars today but it was a generally convincing team effort, and reflected the sort of never-say-die disposition which the Kiwis have brought to their game over recent seasons.
Although their bowlers probably did not perform to their best after they were forced to perform first by their rival captain, they set a reasonable early platform, capturing wickets both early and late in their opponents' innings and ensuring that the Indians were never able to set a target that would prove totally beyond reach.
But essentially, this was a win which was built on the efforts of their batsmen. Man of the match Twose, whose discipline and steadiness remains far more evident than the creativity and flair he is slowly attempting to bring to his game, was again a rock of stability for his team today and played a marvellously composed innings. And it was appropriate that he should have been there at the end to hit the winning runs because he - more than any other batsman in his team – as been the central figure in at least three games in guiding his team to victory.
Together with a defiant Matt Horne (74), who held the top order together before combining with his English-born teammate to add a vital 83 runs for the fourth wicket, the burly right hander first stabilised the innings and then piloted the triumphal charge at the conclusion.
Having produced a withering battery of shots in fading light, and before a tight cordon of security staff for once outnumbering the hordes of potential post-match invaders (if only because, tragically, most of the paying audience had departed the ground during the rain break), significant credit must also be given to Adam Parore, who came to the crease in the forty-sixth over - after Chris Cairns had laboured to graft a painstaking 11 to leave the score at 218/5 - and played just the innings that was needed in the tension-laced circumstances. He hit successive boundaries to backward point off Robin Singh in the forty-sixth over, and repeated the dose with three fours in the space off four balls behind square on the leg side off Srinath in the forty-eighth to edge his team to within touching distance of victory.
Earlier in the day, India's tally had owed much to the continued good form of Ajay Jadeja. The cheeky right hander, whose innings might have been ended with his score on just one had a Chris Harris throw from backward point not narrowly missed the stumps, overcame some early difficulties with his timing to compile an excellent hand of 76 – score which came from 103 deliveries and contained six fours and two sixes. In a display in which he steadily increased his scoring tempo (particularly from the moment at which he lofted a magnificent straight six off Nathan Astle's slow medium pace in the fortieth over) without ever appearing to alter the extent of his urgency, his ability to effortlessly hoist full deliveries over the infield - and even over the fence on occasions - was on show for all to see again today.
Together with Mohammed Azharuddin (30) and Robin Singh (27), it was essentially Jadeja who was responsible for first stabilising a teetering Indian exhibition and then inducing some quickfire late scoring.
On a pitch which appeared to contain few terrors early – particularly while the stylish Rahul Dravid was in occupation - India had curiously appeared to be courting trouble prior to Jadeja's arrival. Sachin Tendulkar (16), Saurav Ganguly (29) and Dravid (also 29) himself had all departed before the halfway mark, and, for one of the few times in this tournament, the team's middle order was exposed to a ball which was still seaming.
Enlivened by a bold display of captaincy throughout the morning by Stephen Fleming, the Kiwis indeed had even appeared to have edged their noses in front by the time that Ganguly lost his leg stump to a Geoff Allott yorker and left the team at the vulnerable scoreline of 97/3 in the twenty-third over. That momentum was lost, however, when they were unable to take advantage of the early lack of assurance shown by Jadeja and Azharuddin - the two adding a crucial 90 runs for the fourth wicket - and to continue to capture wickets on a regular basis.
But, for all of the Indian pluck in a game which meant little to them, this was palpably New Zealand's day, and just maybe this might be their tournament.Their tenacity to claim the win after the advent of the late evening precipitation had threatened to almost completely derail their Super Six campaign for a frustrating second time - interrupting the play for eighty minutes just when the final ten overs were about to be bowled and reviving memories of the dismal scene at Leeds last weekend - ensured that this was a triumph that was deserved and which should be savoured.