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News Letter
Fri Sep 20 2002
Issue No: 108

England win sets up Sunday slug-fest

England had never won a one-day match when Marcus Trescothick scored a century, so there was perhaps some extra determination in English veins once the opener stroked his way to 119 against Zimbabwe. Hitting 299 to win in the second innings was always going to be a tall order for Zimbabwe, and Matthew Hoggard did not make things any easier by scything through the top order with three quick wickets. The back of Zimbabwe's middle-order was broken by Ronnie Irani's four wickets, bowling dibbly-dobbly military medium, and even Andy Flower could not pull off the chase. Heath Streak hit up a fifty towards the end, when the cause was certainly lost, but Zimbabwe really needed efforts like Trescothick's ton and Nasser Hussain's 75. The win now means that Sunday's clash between India and England assumes immense importance, for the winner will go through to the semi-finals. Indian fans are advised not to pray for rain, for that would give England the edge in net run-rate.

Hussain looks forward to game against India

England's win over Zimbabwe has set up a humdinger of a clash on Sunday, with India and England slogging it out for a semi-final slot. But Nasser Hussain appeared positive. "The coach doesn't need to tell us anything about India," said an exhausted Hussain. "They are a fine side and it is going to be a great game."

He added, "India must be the favourites in these conditions but if we play as professionally as we did tonight then we have every chance of beating them. We will have to play the spinners well and it will be difficult containing their batting order, which keeps coming at you, on this good wicket."

Hussain was delighted with England's performance against Zimbabwe in energy-sapping conditions. "It was especially good considering that we have come straight out of England after a very long, hard, summer. I thought it was a very professional performance," he said. "Marcus's form has been good for a long time now and it was nice to see him get a hundred, but the team is more than one player."

Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak, for his part, was particularly impressed with Marcus Trescothick. "He definitely now rates with the Indian and Australian openers as one of the most destructive batsmen in the world," said Streak. "We were out-played in all three departments today, but credit to England, they played very well. Two hundred and ninety was always going to be difficult; we needed to pull them back to about 250."

Streak denied that the political turmoil at home affected the team's performance in the ICC Champions Trophy. "I don't see any reason why the political pressures on us in Zimbabwe should be an excuse. That shouldn't affect us."

Technology experiment progressing smoothly: ICC

If the ICC is to be believed, they are onto a good thing with the increased powers of the third umpire. Eleven of the first 24 consultations were made in the "new" areas - leg-before and caught decisions, and on average, consultations take just under one minute, suggesting that they do not slow the game significantly. "Any definitive conclusions on this trial will obviously have to wait until the end of the tournament, but these early figures give an interesting insight into progress so far," said David Richardson, the ICC's cricket general manager. According to Richardson, the technology linking the four umpires with the TV producer is also very effective. "The UCVs (Umpires Communications Vests) are pretty comfortable to wear, even in the extreme heat and humidity of Colombo. Just as important, the quality of sound and the reliability of the links has been of a very high and consistent standard," Richardson added.

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Born on this day in 1921, Pananmal Hotchand Punjabi was India's opening bat for the 1954-55 tour of Pakistan, partnering Pankaj Roy for five Tests and ensuring good starts for his team throughout. His own individual performances, however, were anything but stellar, and Punjabi was never picked to play for the country again.

Cricket fans who got impatient with Sri Lanka's grinding victory over Holland or Australia's quickie against Bangladesh can now look forward to sheer action. India slug it out with England for a semi-final berth on Sunday, and the Australia-Sri Lanka semi-final could be the best match of the tournament. Don't switch off now, folks.

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"We can't take Kenya lightly. There's no doubt about that. From a confidence point of view it's important that we go out there and play well." South African captain Shaun Pollock

"If you don't play against the likes of Australia and South Africa then you won't improve. This was my first time and with most of the guys being young we will learn." Bangladesh skipper Khaled Mashud

"The best solution is for the ground umpires to just ask the third umpire if the batsman is out or not. It would simplify many things and could avoid controversial decisions." Sunny

The jinx has been broken! Marcus Trescothick's fourth one-day century has finally helped England to a win, with his side losing during each of his first three hundreds.

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