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Fri Mar 21 2003
Issue No: 168

India crush Kenya to go through to final

Wanting the underdog to win may be one thing, but fans of cricket, and not just Indian ones, would surely have prayed for an Indian win against Kenya, if only to set up a title clash against Australia that would be worthy of the World Cup. And India obligingly won by 91 runs in their semi-final at Durban. Sourav Ganguly, in fact, grinned with childish glee after winning the toss and opting to bat first. He proceeded then to top-score for India, making 111 off 114 balls (five fours, five sixes) at number three, after Sachin Tendulkar (83) had missed out on another century for the taking. India made 270/4, which, considering Kenya's batting and India's newly discovered bite in the bowling, was about 150 too many. Sure enough, Kenya were at one stage struggling at 104 for seven and were finally bowled out for 179, Steve Tikolo making a desolate 56. That ended Kenya's fairy-tale run, and although they may have won hearts with their joie de vivre and enthusiasm, a World Cup final is a World Cup final, and India are better equipped to challenge Australia there.

Ganguly defends bowling tactics

Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh bowling at Kenyan tailenders in the last 10 overs, when Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra had overs in the bag, may have been an inexplicable move to Indian fans.

But Indian captain Sourav Ganguly defended his bowling tactics while arguing that his team's desperately one-sided World Cup semi-final win over Kenya on Thursday was good preparation to meet Australia.

Ganguly, who set up the 91-run win with an unbeaten century, was asked why he bowled a string of occasional bowlers rather than go for the kill against the outclassed Kenyans after they had slumped to 92 for six.The India skipper said Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag might have to bowl in Sunday's final. .We wanted to give everybody a bowl once they were 92 for six," he said. "They obviously went for a few runs, but once the fast bowlers came back we finished it off quickly..

Asked if the match had been a good warm-up for Ricky Ponting's Australians, Ganguly replied, "I think it was a good preparation. Winning the last eight games in a row, that is definitely good preparation for a World Cup final."

Ganguly said he had been concerned when Tendulkar drew his attention to lightning after the initial overs. "But once we finished 15 overs, we had spinners at both ends to quickly get to 25. We were lucky that way," he said.

Kenyan captain Steve Tikolo, when asked which team he expected to win the final, said, "I would go with Australia. The way they have played, they have had close games and they have come through them."

Lee's pace must be playing on India's minds - Gilchrist

Australia's vice-captain Adam Gilchrist believes the pace of Brett Lee will play on the minds of India's batsmen ahead of Sunday's World Cup final. The fair-haired Lee, with 20 tournament wickets, terrorised the India top-order in the group phase as they lost by nine wickets. "He rattled the Indians at Centurion Park," Gilchrist told Reuters. "It was a tactical move by Ricky (Ponting) to give Brett the new ball, as usually we had seen (Glenn) McGrath and (Jason) Gillespie share it, but he decided to take them on with pace straight away. Brett came through and so it will be on their minds for sure and they will also remember they had to face him when he first came into international cricket and was bowling with real pace then as well," he added.

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On this day, the third of the third India-West Indies Test in 1971, a 21-year-old answering to the name of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar scored 116, his first ton in Tests. The little master would go on to score three more hundreds in the remaining two Tests of the series to kickstart a legendary career that went on to yield a world-record 34 Test tons and 10,122 runs.

Sachin Tendulkar taking on McGrath and Virender Shewag taking on Brett Lee... Can a World Cup final get any more exciting than this! Follow the thrilling finale to 2003 World Cup on Sunday with's pioneering ball-by-ball coverage.

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Sourav Ganguly
Captain's innings
© Reuters

How many ODI centuries has Sachin Tendulkar scored against Australia?

Previous Question

Which Indian bowler has claimed the most number of wickets in a single World Cup?

Answer:Roger Binny

"It is a World Cup final and pressure is always going to be a factor," he said. "They are world champions and they got to defend their title," Sourav Ganguly

"Their (India's) bowlers are the ones who have improved a lot over the last 12 months. Nehra seems to have come from nowhere, Khan has been steady and Srinath has been doing the same thing as he always has," Ricky Ponting

"Sourav Ganguly has been without doubt India's finest captain. May his courage and imagination be rewarded with the greatest prize cricket has to offer," Suneet Sharma

The World Cup final at the Wanderers on Sunday shall also be Sourav Ganguly's 100th match as captain.

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