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Tendular stars as Yuvraj, Kaarthick guide India to victory
June 29, 2007 19:33 IST
Last Updated: June 30, 2007 00:00 IST
India made heavy weather of a modest target and survived a mini-collapse before inflicting a six-wicket defeat on South Africa with five balls to spare in the penultimate game of the three-match cricket series on Friday.
But the team then lost four wickets for eight runs to inject some uncertainty in the match before Yuvraj Singh [Images] and Dinesh Kaarthick kept their cool to see the side home.
Put in to bat, South Africa posted 226 for six with twin half centuries from Morne van Wyk (82) and Mark Boucher [Images] (55 not out).
In reply, India got off to a good start, fumbled in the middle and then recovered to reach the target.
After Tendulkar (93) and Ganguly (42) laid the foundation, Yuvraj (49 not out) and Dinesh Kaarthick (32 not out) played some smart cricket to square the series.
South Africa had won the first match by four wickets and the third and final match is scheduled on Sunday.
Chasing 227 for win, Tendulkar and Ganguly -- more than 25,000 ODI runs between them -- walked out to open and it was clear that the senior pros were not in any hurry.
Both took their time and while Tendulkar dominated the scene, Ganguly was content playing second fiddle as they kept the scoreboard ticking without inviting trouble.
Only once did Ganguly come out of his self-imposed cocoon, stepping out to hit Thandi Tshabalala over mid-on for a six.
Tendulkar grew in confidence and and his pull shot was back again as he displayed his rich array of strokes. He pulled Andre Nel [Images] for a six to reach 45 and then an overthrow helped him reach 50 and also become the first player to score 15,000 ODI runs.
After putting up 134 for the opening stand -- their 17th century partnership -- Ganguly drove Charl Langeveldt to Herschelle Gibbs [Images] at point to perish.
That triggered a mini-batting collapse as some of the big names were soon cooling their heels in the pavilion.
Dravid (2) was not comfortable against Langeveldt's bounce and top-edged it to offer a catch to the bowler, while comeback man Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] was castled through the gates by Makhaya Ntini [Images].
In between, Tendulkar, who was out for 99 in the previous match and looked determined to reach three figures this time, dragged an innocuous Tshabalala delivery onto his stumps.
His 93 came off 106 balls and included 13 delectable hits to the fence apart from two sixes.
Yuvraj and Kaarthick joined hands to weather the crisis and their unbeaten 85-run stand guided India to victory.
Earlier, notwithstanding van Wyk's career-best 82, Jean-Paul Duminy's sedate 40 and Boucher's breezy, run-a-ball cameo of 55, the Indian bowlers did a decent job to restrict South Africa to a modest total.
Left-arm pace duo of Zaheer Khan [Images] and RP Singh thrived on the gloomy and cold conditions, which had prompted Dravid to field, and sent down three maidens that had openers van Wyk and AB de Villiers (0) in all sorts of trouble.
The mounting pressure resulted in de Villiers' dismissal in the fourth over when a desperate van Wyk set out for a single before changing his mind and Dravid whipped off the bails after receiving a throw from RP, who had fielded off his own bowling. RP then earned his next breakthrough and it was a vital one.
Jacques Kallis [Images] (2) has always been the thorn in the flesh for India and the latest instance was the previous match where the South Africa captain single-handedly took the game away from Dravid's side.
RP, however, ensured this was not the case this time.
He started his third over with a shorter delivery that hit Kallis on the midriff and followed it up with a fuller one that took the inner edge before crashing on the stump.
South Africa were seven for two, and sans their captain-cum-batting mainstay.
Van Wyk finally found an able partner in Duminy and the duo started the rebuilding process.
The opener was looking good for his maiden ODI ton but Yuvraj sent down an armball that took faint edge before nestling into Dhoni's gloves.
He contributed 82 runs that came off 126 balls, which included seven boundaries, apart from a six off Piyush Chawla. Boucher and Andrew Hall [Images] (17 off 19 balls) decided to make the most of the slog overs and played some lusty shots.
Boucher's buccaneering knock was studded with four fours and a six. Yuvraj turned out to be the pick of the Indian bowlers, scalping three for 36 in his nine overs.