Praveen Kumar grabbed three early wickets and Virender Sehwag smashed a superb century as India entered the tri-series final with an emphatic 105-run win over New Zealand yesterday. India will now clash with Sri Lanka in the final pf the series on Saturday as New Zealand head home after finishing bottom of the group.
Praveen, the pace bowler, finished with three for 34 as New Zealand, chasing a 224-run target, were shot out for 118 in 30.1 overs - their lowest total against India in one-day internationals. India were indebted to Sehwag, the man of the match, for posting a competitive total as the hard-hitting opener cracked one six and 16 boundaries in a 93-ball 110 for his 13th one-day hundred. "He [Sehwag] is the only batsman who seems to be middling the ball well," MS Dhoni, the India captain, said. "It was really good to bat with him. In the second half of the game, the bowlers did the job for us. We give Praveen the new ball because he has a good control over his swing. Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel also did a good job."
India virtually wrapped up the match when they left New Zealand struggling at 22 for four in the ninth over, with Praveen taking three wickets. Kyle Mills, the tailender, hammered an entertaining 52 for his second half-century in one-dayers, but his knock came too late to stop India from the winning the match. Mills hit three sixes and seven fours in his 35-ball knock. Patel (3-21) and Nehra (2-10), the fast bowlers, were India's other main wicket-takers.
"The way Sehwag batted, it took the game away from us," said Ross Taylor, the New Zealand skipper. "They then bowled full and straight and made us make tough decisions." Tim Southee, the New Zealand paceman (4-49), and Nathan McCullum (3-35), the off-spinner, earlier shared seven wickets to bowl India out for a modest total despite Sehwag's century. India were tottering at 66 for four in 13 overs after electing to bat when Sehwag propped up the innings with a 107-run stand for the fifth wicket with Dhoni (38). This gave the platform to reach a competitive score of 223, which proved to be more than enough to ensure that they progressed through to the final at the expense of New Zealand. * Agence-France-Presse
India Karthik c Hopkins b Mills 0 Sehwag c Watling b McCullum 110 Kohli c Hopkins b Southee 8 Yuvraj c Hopkins b McKay 6 Raina c Williamson b Southee 1 Dhoni c Hopkins b McCullum 38 Jadeja c Taylor b Southee 17 Praveen c Mills b Southee 6 Nehra c&b McCullum 0 Ishant not out 8 Munaf c McKay b Mills 7 Extras 1b, 5lb, 14w, 2nb 22 Total (all out, 46.3 overs) 223 Fall of wickets: 1-0; 2-27; 3-61; 4-66; 5-173; 6-199; 7-199; 8-207; 9-207; 10-223 Bowling: Mills 8.3-1-42-2; Southee 10-2-49-4; McKay 8-1-31-1; Styris 6-0-37-0; McCullum 10-0-35-3; Williamson 4-0-23-0 New Zealand Watling b Nehra 2 Guptill lbw b Praveen 0 Taylor c Dhoni b Praveen 8 Elliott not out 6 Styris b Praveen 1 Williamson b Ishant 13 Hopkins lbw b Munaf 0 McCullum c Karthik b Munaf 5 Mills c Praveen b Nehra 52 Southee c Praveen b Jadeja 10 McKay not out 3 Extras 5lb, 8w 13 Total (all out, 30.1 overs) 118 Fall of wickets: 1-1; 2-6; 3-14; 4-22; 5-41; 6-42; 7-52; 8-53; 9-80; 10-118 Bowling: Praveen 8-2-34-3; Nehra 6.1-1-10-2; Munaf 7-0-21-3; Ishant 6-1-27-1; Jadeja 3-0-21-1