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8th Super Six Match: India v New Zealand
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 12 June 1999

Kiwis set 252 against India in must-win WC match

NOTTINGHAM, June 12 - There is nothing more galling than to come to the venue knowing that however good a performance you put up, you are never going to make it.

India were faced with that kind of unsavoury situation when they arrived at Trent Bridge today for their final World Cup Super Sixes match against New Zealand. There was nothing in it for them, but to play for their pride after Pakistan, whom they had beaten comprehensively only five days ago had put paid to what little chance they had of qualifying by winning against Zimbabwe on Friday.

``We are bitterly disappointed, but we still want to beat New Zealand and go home with some pride,'' said Indian coach Anshuman Gaekwad.

India took a step towards achieving that when they ran up an impressive 251 for 5 wickets with vice-captain Ajay Jadeja, the man who is most likely to succeed Mohammed Azharuddin as captain, throwing down the gauntlet to score an immaculate 76 off 103 balls.

India lost Jadeja at a crucial period of the game in the 48th over just as when they were looking forward to accelerate. Jadeja hit two sixes and six fours before mistiming a drive and presenting wicket-keeper Adam Parore with a simple catch. Jadeja's innings came at an important time for India after they had lost Tendulkar (16), Rahul Dravid (29) and Sourav Ganguly (29) for 97 in the 23 overs.

Tendulkar had his middle stump knocked back by Dion Nash, who found a chink in the batsman's armour, Dravid cut Chris Cairns uppishly to point and Ganguly lost his leg stump to Geoff Allott, who with that wicket took his tally for the tournament to 20, already a World Cup record.

Jadeja and Azharuddin added 90 for the fourth wicket off 106 balls which turned out to be the best for India. Azharuddin top edged a pull off Larsen to Parore to be dismissed for 30 scored off 43 balls.

New Zealand also took Robin Singh's wicket for 27 scored off 29 balls (1 six, 1 four) before the overs ran out, Fleming reacting smartly to whip a return in to the non-striker's end for Cairns to remove the bails.

The Indian camp expressed there unhappiness that the one point Zimbabwe got from the washed-out game with New Zealand had in effect, put them out of the competition. The players felt the rules should be rewritten to give three points for a win, so that success is better rewarded.

India were left rueing there loss to Zimbabwe in the group stage which only they are to blame for. ``We seem to have paid too high a price for that defeat. Look at the irony of it. The teams that Zimbabwe lost to in the group matches, Sri Lanka and England, we beat quite convincingly. At a time when we are getting better, we haven't got a chance to reach the pinnacle,'' said a distraught Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin,who knows what to expect when he returns home to face the wrath of about 300 million disillusioned people.

For New Zealand who were given a day off by coach Steve Rixon the match has a far greater incentive. Victory would put them level on points with Zimbabwe and leave Australia needing to beat South Africa at Headingley tomorrow (Sunday) to overtake them.

``If we win, we're still in with a chance. If we don't, we won't deserve to be in the last four,'' was how Rixon summarised the situation for his side.

Source: The Daily News