Standard Bank Triangular Series

Colin Bryden

The heavyweight showdown between India and South Africa was billed as the main attraction, with Kenya's games tucked away on the undercard, and a South Africa-India final was widely advertised before the end of the qualifying stage. India managed to save the marketing men's blushes at the last by making the final - where they lost to South Africa - but the tournament will be remembered for Kenya giving Sourav Ganguly's side a bloody nose.

India's problem was consistency, with initial good work often wasted. The opening partnership between Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar averaged 103 in six matches; they shared three century stands, including 258 against Kenya, which simultaneously broke the records for the first wicket and for the most hundred opening partnerships in one-day internationals. But both their three-figure stands against South Africa were in losing causes, as the middle order failed to consolidate. Among the bowlers, the spinners Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble (making his comeback after a year out with a shoulder injury) turned their second match against South Africa, but only Harbhajan improved his reputation.

Kenya saw at first hand the full extent of India's ups and downs. They took advantage of a weak display at Port Elizabeth to gain a much-cherished win - only their third against Test opposition. India certainly looked complacent; dark mutterings about a fix were only intensified by a massive victory when they next met Kenya. However, the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit cleared them of any suspicion. As Kenya basked in the glow of a rare win, their five defeats, flimsy bowling and over-reliance for runs on Steve Tikolo were happily forgotten. Thomas Odoyo was their outstanding player: he took nine wickets at 32, and confident batting brought him his first two international fifties.

Kenya's famous victory was all the more remarkable given turbulent events off the field. Their flamboyant captain, Maurice Odumbe - who announced after one thrashing that he was taking his boys out on the town to drown their sorrows - was suspended for two matches for claiming that umpire David Orchard had shown bias against the Kenyans. There was more consternation when Kenya's manager, Mehmood Quraishy, complained of chest pains on his way to Odumbe's tribunal. After preliminary treatment by his Indian counterpart, a doctor, he was rushed to hospital for heart surgery.

Meanwhile, South Africa ploughed on relentlessly, winning six of their seven games. The greater depth of their batting and bowling was telling. Either Gary Kirsten or his substitute Boeta Dippenaar usually provided an anchor but, unlike Ganguly and Tendulkar, they were solidly supported by the middle order. Neil McKenzie was stylish and prolific, scoring 223 runs for one dismissal. Shaun Pollock was by far the best bowler on any side, taking 14 wickets and going for only 3.5 an over, as he spearheaded an attack that made up in consistency what it lacked in variety.

Match reports for

1st Match: South Africa v India at Johannesburg, Oct 5, 2001
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2nd Match: South Africa v Kenya at Benoni, Oct 7, 2001
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3rd Match: South Africa v India at Centurion, Oct 10, 2001
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4th Match: India v Kenya at Bloemfontein, Oct 12, 2001
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5th Match: South Africa v Kenya at Kimberley, Oct 14, 2001
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6th Match: India v Kenya at Port Elizabeth, Oct 17, 2001
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7th Match: South Africa v India at East London, Oct 19, 2001
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8th Match: South Africa v Kenya at Cape Town, Oct 22, 2001
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9th Match: India v Kenya at Paarl, Oct 24, 2001
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Final: South Africa v India at Durban, Oct 26, 2001
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© John Wisden & Co