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Wed Feb 12 2003
Issue No: 152

Effervescent Dutch surprise India

There was much talk of Dutch courage before the start of their game against India. Every bit of it proved well founded as the Dutch bowlers pegged India back to 86/3 at the half-way mark of the Indian innings. Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were all back in the hut and the pressure was on the Indians. Ganguly was the first to go, making just eight before tickling his opposite number Roland Lefebvre through to the keeper. Virender Sehwag, coming in at number three rather than his usual opening position, played one scintillating shot, sending the ball racing to the fence before attempting an expansive drive against Jan Kloppenburg, only to be well caught by Bas Zuiderent at covers. Sehwag made six. Tendulkar, for his part, seemed to be building his innings with great care. But after making 52 off 72 balls with six fours, he was dismissed trying to chop Tim de Leede away. Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh were, then, entrusted with the onerous task of rebuilding the Indian innings.

Winning World Cup more important than beating India - Latif

It is probably the biggest game of this World Cup as far as India and Pakistan supporters are concerned. But Rashid Latif, for one, feels that winning the March 1 Pool A game between the two sides pales in comparison to winning the World Cup.

"We're obviously focused on beating India, because of the traditional rivalry," the 34-year-old Pakistan wicket-keeper told BBC Urdu.

"But if we lose to India and then win the World Cup, our defeat to them won't really matter. There was a lot of pressure in the past when we used to play regularly, but that has lessened in recent years because we haven't really faced each other that often,. he added.

Despite having dominated India in one-day internationals, Pakistan have strangely struggled in World Cup matches against their great rivals. In three matches against the Indians in the previous three World Cups - the last being a Super Sixes match at Manchester in 1999 - they have not even won one match. Their highest total in those matches has been a 248/9 in a quarter-final match that they lost to India in Bangalore in 1996.

But Latif, while clarifying that he and his team would definitely like to right that record, preferred to look at the silver lining. "We lost to India in 1992 and ended up winning the tournament, while in 1999 we were beaten again but still reached the final," he observed.

Warne exit so sad for world game - Ganguly

One man who was upset about Shane Warne's exit from the World Cup on Tuesday after failing a drugs test was Sourav Ganguly. Hailing Warne as "a champion of the game", the Indian skipper told a press conference: "It's really sad news for world cricket. To make it worse, it was the last World Cup of his career. I really don't know the final situation, on what basis he has been banned, but obviously all the players in South Africa will miss him." Warne, the most successful leg-spinner to play the game, flew home on Tuesday after testing positive for diuretics. Warne said he had taken the substance by mistake as part of his attempts to slim down and that it was not performance-enhancing. Talking about the Indian team, Ganguly added that they were very careful about any medication they took. "The boys are strictly following instructions and it has been going on well," he said.

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The stylish Gundappa Viswanath, who went on to score 6,080 runs from 91 Tests at 41.93, was born on this day in 1949. Vishy, as he was lovingly known, was incidentally, the first Indian debutant Test centurion to score more than one hundred by the end of his career.

India have made an indifferent start to the 2003 World Cup, losing key wickets against Netherlands. Will Sourav Ganguly's men bounce back and make a winning start to their campaign? Stay with's live ball-by-ball commentary to find out.

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Ganguly and Tendulkar
Gearing up for the mega-event
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Where did India and New Zealand last meet in World Cup cricket?

Answer:Trent Bridge, Nottingham

"The opening two games (against Holland and Australia) are absolutely vital. It would give us a fair idea and it could put us on a roll. I am eagerly looking forward for the tournament to unfold," Sourav Ganguly

"India's batting is very solid. Their batsmen can demolish any team on their day. I know for a fact India always perform better in South Africa," Shaun Pollock

"India should not have tinkered with their batting order and asked Sachin Tendulkar to open, particularly considering the fact that all their recent memorable wins have come when Sehwag and Ganguly have opened,"Prashant Kamal

Javagal Srinath needs just one wicket to become the second Indian to claim 300 ODI wickets.

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