Cairns powers New Zealand to a famous win - 2000

Partab Ramchand

September 14, 2002

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If anything, the second ICC KnockOut competition saw even more enthralling contests and a higher standard of play, cementing its success. In keeping with the globalisation process, the International Cricket Council this time held the competition in Nairobi from October 3 to 15, 2000.


The quarterfinals were marked by three one-sided results but the pulsating Australia-India game made up for this. Australia were firm favourites but this was a rejuvenated Indian side, under the captaincy of Ganguly and including three potentially fine players in newcomers Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Vijay Dahiya. After Australia made the early inroads, a breath-taking innings from Yuvraj saw India wrest the initiative and the advantage thereafter stayed with India.
When the idea of such a competition was mooted, Bangladesh and Kenya seemed next in line for Test status. By the time the Nairobi tournament was held, Bangladesh had already been granted the exalted status and were a month away from playing their first Test match. Kenya remained hopeful that the successful conduct of the mini-World Cup as also a good performance from their cricketers - the number of the teams had been raised to eleven to include Bangladesh and the hosts - would move them a step nearer being given Test status.

The tournament certainly was a success from the organisational point of view and much of the cricket was of the ethereal variety, but there was no storybook script for the hosts who lost to India by eight wickets in the opening match of the competition.

Batting first, Kenya were restricted to 208 for nine in 50 overs. The total was never going to be one to pose any problems for the Indians and thanks to skipper Sourav Ganguly's 66 and Rahul Dravid's unbeaten 68, they romped home with eight wickets and 7.3 overs to spare.

Similarly, England faced little opposition from Bangladesh emerging winners by eight wickets with 6.1 overs to spare. Bangladesh did well in getting 232 for eight in 50 overs but against ordinary bowling, Alec Stewart (87 not out) and skipper Nasser Hussain (95) had little difficulty in negotiating some ordinary bowling during their second wicket partnership of 175 runs.

The format again meant that one Test nation had to be knocked out in the first round and this time the West Indies failed to cross this hurdle. A stroke-filled 132 by opener Avishka Gunawardene and his third wicket stand of 160 runs with Mahela Jayawardene (72) saw Sri Lanka post 287 for six in 50 overs, a total that proved to be too formidable for the West Indies who were dismissed for 179 in 46.4 overs.

The quarterfinals were marked by three one-sided results but the pulsating Australia-India game made up for this. Australia were firm favourites but this was a rejuvenated Indian side, under the captaincy of Ganguly and including three potentially fine players in newcomers Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Vijay Dahiya. After Australia made the early inroads, a breath-taking innings from Yuvraj saw India wrest the initiative and the advantage thereafter stayed with India.

The pugnacious left-hander hit 84 off 80 balls treating the pace of McGrath, Lee and Gillespie with utter disdain. India ultimately posted a challenging total of 265 for nine in 50 overs. Then it was the turn of another youngster to strike. Bowling with hostility, Zaheer Khan removed Adam Gilchrist and Steve Waugh and some fine work by the varied attack, backed up by some superb work in the field in which Yuvraj was outstanding saw Australia bowled out for 245 in the 47th over.

Unfortunately, the other three quarterfinals lacked such heroics and drama. In prosaic contests, Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by nine wickets, New Zealand beat Zimbabwe by 64 runs and South Africa outplayed England by eight wickets.

The Pakistan-Sri Lanka game was billed as a scorcher. But once Lanka were bowled out for 194 in 45.4 overs no batsman reached 40 they were always going to be up against it. Saeed Anwar's unbeaten 105 saw Pakistan home with 6.4 overs to spare. New Zealand's total of 265 for seven in 50 overs, thanks in the main to Roger Twose's bright 85, proved to be beyond Zimbabwe's reach and despite a splendid 67 by Stuart Carlisle they were bowled out for 201 in 42.2 overs with Paul Wiseman finishing with four for 45.

Similarly, England were no match for South Africa's professional allround skills. Graeme Hick top-scored with a gallant 65 but England's total of 182 in 44.1 overs was always going to be inadequate. South Africa with Jacques Kallis (78 not out) and Boeta Dippenaar (65) figuring in an unbroken third wicket partnership of 132 runs romped home with 11.5 overs to spare.

Two splendid semi-final matches made up for the generally lacklustre fare in the previous round. Anwar hit a second successive hundred (104) as Pakistan scored 252 in 49.2 overs against New Zealand. Azhar Mahmood, then, reduced the Kiwis to 15 for two but Nathan Astle (49) and Roger Twose (87) initiated a recovery process by adding 135 runs for the third wicket. Pakistan came back strongly and had a distinct edge when New Zealand were 187 for six. However, Craig McMillan (51) and Scott Styris (26) figured in an unbroken seventh wicket stand of 66 runs to steer New Zealand home amidst much excitement with one over to spare.

The other semifinal lacked a close finish but in many ways it was just as enthralling. The entertainment started early with Ganguly in his elements. Doing pretty much what he liked with the attack that included the likes of Pollock, Donald, Klusener, Kallis, Boje and Telemachus, the Indian captain hit a run-a-ball 141 not out in a total of 295 for six in 50 overs. With Rahul Dravid (58), Ganguly dominated a second wicket partnership of 145 runs while Yuvraj (41) matched his skipper in stroke and run production in a third wicket stand of 82 runs.

The youngsters continued to excel with Zaheer Khan picking up the wickets of Andrew Hall and Dippenaar cheaply in his opening spell and Dahiya effecting three dismissals. Even South Africa's professional skills came to nought against the new look Indian side and they were bowled out for 200 in 41 overs.

And so in the title clash were two unexpected contestants, India and New Zealand. None could say, however, that they were undeserving of a place in the final. And the two teams, in keeping with the form they had displayed, produced a high calibre game, marked by much tension and excitement, twists and turns. Ganguly hit another century (117) and his first wicket partnership of 141 runs with Sachin Tendulkar (66) paved the way for the challenging Indian total of 264 for six in 50 overs.

At various stages - 37 for two and 132 for five - New Zealand were gasping for breath. But they received timely oxygen in the form of Chris Cairns. The star all-rounder took charge and with the help of the old warhorse Chris Harris (46) revived New Zealand's hopes with a sixth wicket partnership of 122 runs. In true storybook fashion, Cairns reached an unbeaten 102 in the process of steering New Zealand to victory with four wickets and two deliveries to spare in a grandstand finish.

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