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The Barbados Nation 8th Super Six Match: India v New Zealand
The Barbados Nation - 12 June 1999

Kiwis go through

New Zealand earned a definite semi final place in the World Cup yesterday but will need their few days' break to recover from the debilitating tension of a decisive, nerve-wracking victory over India at Trent Bridge.

India's 251 for six from their 50 overs set New Zealand a genuine challenge but they held a marginal advantage when rain, along with thunder and lightning, halted their progress after the second ball of the 40th over at 194 for four.

They were then 58 away from the target that would decide whether they remained in the tournament or not. An identical number of balls remained.

The weather made them wait an agonising hour-and-a-quarter before they could resume their vital chase in the evening gloom and, when the power-hitting Chris Cairns skied a catch to long-on off Robin Singh off the first ball of the 46th over, the equation was a tight 34 off 29 balls. They needed only 10.

Roger Twose, the level-headed left-hander, born in England and with several years grounding in the ways of one-day cricket with Warwickshire, had already skilfully directed them towards the target. He was now happy to watch from the opposite end as wicket-keeper Adam Parore flicked and pulled five fours off Singh and India's main strike bowler Javagal Srinath in separate overs that yielded 11 and 15.

That virtually settled the match. Parore scored 26 off his 14 balls but it was fitting that Twose, New Zealand's most consistent batsman in the tournament, stroked the winning runs with a boundary off the top-spinner, Anil Kumble, off the second ball of the 49th over.

The win carried New Zealand level with Zimbabwe on five points. South Africa and Pakistan had already booked their places.

New Zealand have therefore left their neighbours, and arch-rivals, Australia, with the colossal task of beating South Africa in their last match at Headlingley today to secure a place in the last four.

``We did the right things at the right time,'' New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming said. ``But it hasn't been smooth ... (the victory) is sort of sinking in and we are delighted to be in the semifinal,'' he said.

Asalways,AsalwaysNew Zealand will carry team spirit and determination as their main attributes into the semi final. All the stars were on India's side yesterday Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, SauravGanguly, Mohammed Azharuddin, Anil Kumble and the rest but fervour mattered more.

Tendulkar, a disappointment with the exception of his 100 against Kenya, had his middle stump hit by Dion Nash's brilliant late inswinger in the sixth over. Dravid, the tournament's leading scorer, sliced a catch to gully off Cairns in the 15th. The left-handed Ganguly could not keep out a yorker from Geoff Allott who carried his record wicket-tally in a single World Cup to 20.

Not for the first time, Ajay Jadeja stepped forward to take up the slack for India with a typically energetic 76 off 103 balls.

His successive partnerships of 90 in 17.4 overs with Azharuddin, possibly captain in his last match, and 56 in 6.5 overs with the left-handed Robin Singh were decisive in pushing the total past 250.

Azahruddin, who made 30, must face an angry public when he returns home with a team that failed to make the semis, victory over Pakistan notwithstanding.

The Trinidad-born Singh ended his tournament with 27 off 29 balls, with a six and a four. He is probably the best West Indian all-rounder currently playing but India's exit leaves only umpire Steve Bucknor as a Caribbean representative.

New Zealand's opening stand of 45 was their second highest in the tournament but their effort was stuttering at 90 for three in the 22nd over.

Twose and Matthew Horne, the tall, right-handed opener, gained the ascendancy with a stand of 83 in 12.5 overs that benefited from wayward offerings from India's most trusted bowlers, Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad, and fumbling fielding.

Horne chose to run himself out by pushing straight to mid-on and taking off for the opposite end. He was well short when substitute Chopra pinged the stumps, a crucial innings of 74 off 116 balls with 10 fours, wasted.

That made it 173 for four and the rain was already spitting. It was soon heavy enough for the lengthy break.

New Zealand and Australia as well - would have spent a sleepless night had it not relented. But it did and Twose and Parore saw New Zealand through.

Source: The Barbados Nation
Editorial comments can be sent to The Barbados Nation at nationnews@sunbeach.net