New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, speaking after India defeated his side to qualify for the final of the Coca-Cola Cup, paid tribute to Virender Shewag who took the game away from them with a sparkling 100 off just 69 deliveries, the seventh fastest hundred in One Day International history.
"We scored the highest score of the tournament and were fired up to defend it, but just one guy took it off from us. Unfortunately it keeps happening to us. The other day Russel Arnold did it for Sri Lanka, today this guy did it."
Fleming went on: "It was not slogging, it was clean hitting. I tried various things at him, it just didn't work out."
New Zealand put up a good performance in the morning scoring 264 runs thanks to fine 108 by Nathan Astle at the top of the order. Fleming was happy with the score his side put up.
"It was a good target, no doubt about it. We had a few partnerships going for us in the middle and we added about 75 runs in the last nine overs and things went well for us. I feel the game was taken away from us more than we lost it," reflected the New Zealand captain whose side beat the Indians on the two previous occasions in the tournament.
Speaking about the positives that have emerged from this series ahead of a tough tour in Pakistan, Fleming said, "We had a very young squad. Guys like Darryl Tuffey and Kyle Mills, they've come a long way. I think Nathan Astle was brilliant in top of the order. We've been brilliant in fielding as well."
This also the last game of David Trist as New Zealand coach, Speaking about the outgoing coach Fleming said, "The two years he's been in charge of New Zealand cricket has been a good one. It would have been a good thing to send him off with a winning note, but it's not to be."
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was delighted about his side's performance leading up to the final: "It's absolutely wonderful. I am really glad at what we've achieved. We lost three matches on the trot and bounced back to qualify for the final."
India lost the first three games but played good cricket to win their last three matches: "Today's game was very much satisfying. Playing back to back matches in this heat and winning both is amazing."
India having put the opposition in conceded the highest runs recorded in the tournament so far. But they bounced back to get to that target with ease.
"It was a good total, but once again it was a do or die situation for us and Shewag played one of the best innings I have ever seen," said Ganguly. "I just told him to play his natural game. Not at any stage did I tell him to stop attacking. It was not slogging, it was clean hitting."
When India reached 100 runs before even the fielding restrictions ended in the 15th over, Shewag had gone past 80 while Ganguly was still on 20. Speaking about his sedate innings he said: "There's nothing much you can do when a guy is firing all cylinders. I just gave the strike back to him and he kept hitting everything."
Shewag has been compared with Sachin Tendulkar for the way he plays. Speaking about this comparison, Ganguly said, "That man has got over 50 international hundreds. You just can't compare anybody with him."
Looking ahead to the final, the Indian captain said, "It's just a one off final. We've got a break of two days. We have to sharpen up a few things like our fielding."
Man of the match Shewag speaking about his knock, said, "Yes, this is the best innings of my career. I played my natural game. That's what they told me to do when I went to the middle and I am happy about the way things went for us."
In this tournament, Shewag has played both as opener and in the middle order. Asked as to whether he likes the opening slot better than batting in the middle order, he said: "It depends on the team's need and the situation. I would be happy to bat wherever I am asked to bat."