The Indians will have to do far better

Woorkheri Raman

December 3, 2000

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The Indians have once again managed to get out of jail after making heavy weather of things at Cuttack. The victory was fashioned by mature performances from the inexperienced but extremely talented players like Hemang Badani and Vijay Dahiya. These two came together at a time when Zimbabwe had created quite a flutter in the dressing room after grabbing the top order batsmen in quick time. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly once again put up a century partnership but their form was not as fluent and authoritative as one is accustomed to. Ganguly was scratchy in his effort and of late he has been finding it difficult to get his timing right. Then, of course it is not easy for any batsmen to be at his best every time he walks into bat.

Tendulkar did play his shots right from the word go but the strike was not somehow rotated enough to prevent irritation from creeping into his batting. Eventually he became a victim of his own impatience as well as the slow nature of the pitch. Dirk Viljeon dismissed both the openers in a jiffy but the Indian batting up suddenly slumped with the loss of Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh. Ritender Sodhi found out what international class fielders are capable of, as he was the victim of a direct hit. Anyway this will benefit him and the sooner he learns the better for him.

The turning point for the Indians was the partnership between Badani and Dahiya because they scored runs at a very quick rate. Badani displayed a very cool head keeping the scoreboard busy without missing out on loose deliveries. Dahiya had a very ordinary day with the keeping gloves but he more than made up with some aggressive batting. He timed the ball sweetly on a pitch that was on the slower side and his cutting and driving was a pleasure to watch. Badani realised that his presence till the end was very vital and he finished the game off in style in the company of Agarkar. The mature effort earned Badani the man of the match award and hopefully it is first of many more to come.

Zimbabwe were probably a few runs short in the end analysis but the Indians are at the moment are riding on a fair share of luck. No team could have hoped to win the game after dropping four or five catches besides conceding a lot of runs by way of some tardy effort on the field. Ganguly seems to be aware of the shortcomings of his team but he has to ensure that he leads by example rather than pinpoint the culprits. It appears that his concentration levels as a fielder are affected by his captaincy. It is absolutely essential for the Indians to field well collectively in order to pep their bowlers up on placid tracks.

Stuart Carlisle and Alistair Campbell provided the foundation for the Zimbabweans to put up a total between 260 to 285 but they lost their way in the middle overs. Andy Flower at last failed against the hosts and it was Tendulkar again who got the breakthrough. Venkatesh Prasad and Zaheer Khan were the pick of the lot with Prasad showing that he still is capable of delivering the goods. Agarkar has not been able to maintain his efficient economy rate and of late he is going for a lot of runs. Sodhi bowled decently but still has a long way to go before the team can think of relying on him.

The Indians have to do far better than they did at Cuttack, as the visiting side is a very competitive one in the shorter version of the game. The bowlers will tested severely as the pitches are loaded in favour of batsmen at all the venues these two sides are due to play.

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Series/Tournaments: Zimbabwe tour of India
Teams: India | Zimbabwe
Tour Results
India v Zimbabwe at Rajkot - Dec 14, 2000
India won by 39 runs
India v Zimbabwe at Kanpur - Dec 11, 2000
India won by 9 wickets (with 150 balls remaining)
India v Zimbabwe at Jodhpur - Dec 8, 2000
Zimbabwe won by 1 wicket (with 1 ball remaining)
India v Zimbabwe at Ahmedabad - Dec 5, 2000
India won by 61 runs
India v Zimbabwe at Cuttack - Dec 2, 2000
India won by 3 wickets (with 10 balls remaining)
More results »
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