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Wed Feb 19 2003
Issue No: 155

India bat first in crucial match against Zimbabwe

India take on Zimbabwe in a must-win match for both sides. For India, under great pressure from their disgruntled supporters at home, defeat would make their task of reaching the Super Six stage almost impossible and increase the condemnation of them to unbearable levels. Their batting, though strong on paper, is in crisis, and they will hope desperately that the comparatively friendly Zimbabwe bowling will help them regain their confidence. The pitch is slightly green, but not markedly so. Heath Streak, on winning the toss put India in to bat. The Harare Sports Club pitch is well-known for giving life and movement for the first hour or so of a match, although with the more batting-friendly pitches in recent years this has become less significant. The match begins in hot, humid weather, but with a chance of rain later in the day. With Andy Blignaut fit again, Zimbabwe omitted Henry Olonga. India’s stated batting order showed Virender Sehwag exchanging places with captain Sourav Ganguly to open the batting, and seamer Ashish Nehra replacing Anil Kumble.

We have to regain our belief: Wright

India have their backs to the wall going into the World Cup Group A match against Zimbabwe on Wednesday, according to coach John Wright.

"Two months ago this batting order was successful, but since the start of the tour to New Zealand we've had nine one-day performances where we haven't finished the 50 overs," Wright told reporters on Monday.

"We've got to put it right if we are to be successful in this competition, and it has to start from this game and be carried through. We must beat Zimbabwe.

"We have to regain our belief, our commitment and our determination to get the job done. That is critical to our success. At critical times we've been too aggressive and we've taken the wrong option. Our batting plan is simple, and that is to keep wickets in hand," he went on to observe.

The die was cast for the nine-wicket hiding India were handed by Australia on Saturday when they were bowled out for 125, their lowest ever World Cup total. It followed a less-than-convincing win against Netherlands in their opener on Wednesday.

"The game against Australia was always going to be tough," Wright said. "It was obviously a big game for us, and it would have meant a lot to have been successful. (The loss) didn't help from a morale point of view."

"We had a stable order, but with continued under-performance you need to look at it and make the changes necessary," Wright said.

Tendulkar pleads with enraged Indian fans

Sachin Tendulkar made an extraordinary plea for support from enraged Indian fans on Tuesday a day after an effigy of India captain Sourav Ganguly was burnt in Calcutta. Team-mate Mohammad Kaif's house was also pelted with black paint and oil in Allahabad. Tendulkar said: "This is to all the well-wishers in India. I am here on behalf of the Indian cricket team...We ourselves are very disappointed with the kind of performances we have put up and I also understand the disappointment you have gone through. I am just here to assure all of you that we will be fighting in all the games until the last ball is bowled... so please continue to support us, as you have done in the past, which will surely help us."

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Graeme Hick made an unbeaten 99 as England ended the first day of their final Test against India in 1993 at 239/7. On the second day, Hick would go on to make a magnificent 178, his maiden Test hundred, but with Vinod Kambli making 224, India went on to rout the visitors and complete a 3-0 whitewash.

India take on Zimbabwe in what is a do-or-die match for them. Will Tendulkar and Co. be able to bounce back and put their team's campaign back on track? Stay with's pioneering ball-by-ball coverage to find out.

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Sourav Ganguly
Under fire
© Reuters

Which Zimbabwean batsman scored a hundred against India in an ODI at Harare in 1998?

Previous Question

At which venue in England did Kapil Dev hit 175 in a World Cup match against Zimbabwe?

Answer:Tunbridge Wells

"It has not been a good time for the team or for me. I expected to go through such a phase at some point. This also gives a chance to judge the character and mental strength of every player," Sourav Ganguly

"India had a good 12 months before they had a disappointing tour to New Zealand, and we've taken some heart out of that," Heath Streak

"I hope the Indian cricketing authorities, after the debacle in New Zealand and against Australia in the World Cup, have probably realized that they have to do something to bring about lively pitches in India," Shivaji Sengupta

India have won two games and lost one against Zimbabwe at Harare, the venue of today's crucial World Cup match between the two sides.

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