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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Fleming puts Indian attack on par with Australia's

March 14, 2003 23:45 IST

After his team's demolition by the Indian pacemen, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming was Friday forced to put them on par with the Australian bowling attack.

"I am impressed with your left-armers. They are very handy," said Fleming whose side is all but out of contention of the World Cup after the 7-wicket thrashing by India.

"Your fifth bowler is a worry but it's the same with Australia. At the moment the main bowlers are providing Sourav Ganguly with some good options," he said and then went about praising left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra.

"Nehra in bowling particularly well and he has good rhythm. He is deceptively skiddy and quick," Fleming said about the bowler who was responsible for putting the brakes on New Zealand's scoring.

"He was outstanding. Zaheer Khan got the wickets but I thought Nehra bowled a fantastic spell."

New Zealand's fate in the World Cup now hangs on the result of Saturday's match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. If Sri Lanka win, New Zealand are out of the competition.

Fleming conceded his side had never looked like a serious contender in the tournament.

"We never got the feeling we were in a rhythm to win the World Cup. It's a tough campaign and we were too stuttering. We never really got into the stride," he said.

New Zealand sneaked into the Super Six stage after rains forced South Africa and Sri Lanka to split points in the last league game in Pool B.

"Last time we were pretty close to packing our bags. I guess we should now go through the same routine," Fleming said.

New Zealand were skittled for 146 in 45.1 overs after being surprisingly put into bat by the Indian skipper. Fleming said he would have elected to bat had he won the toss.

"I would have batted. There were cracks on the strip and if we had a good score, it would have been tough for the Indians to chase," he said.

"It wasn't a collapse. It was bad form all through. We didn't give our 100 per cent on such an occasion and such a brilliant batting pitch. I have no answer for it except being very disappointed."

Fleming acknowledged the efforts of Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Kaif, who saw their side through with their 129-run unfinished partnership, but said the match was won by the Indian bowlers.

"I have no doubt it was the Indian bowlers," he said. "When you are chasing 147, even when early wickets are lost, the batsmen can take their time to reassess the situation, judge the bowling and then go about scoring.

"Having said that, Kaif and Dravid batted very well. Dravid is a quality player and both had a good opportunity to get into rhythm," he said.

Kaif and Dravid came together when India were in trouble at 21 for three in the fifth over. Dravid, who finished unbeaten on 53, could have been out for one had wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum not dropped a straight forward chance. Kaif, who made 68 not out, was also lucky in the early part of the innings when a few uppish drives just eluded the fielders.

"Dropped catches are always disappointing, more so because it involved Rahul. But 146 was never enough. To win the game, you needed to take all the chances.

"As for that dropped chance by Brendon, I could not really see it because I had tears in my eye," he said.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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Number of User Comments: 43




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If people blame Fleming for the pre-match hype the same people should blame the reporter of this article for a post-match hype. Look at the ...


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It is indeed very heartening to see the Indian team on a winning streak with everyone contributing to the best of their abilities. The win ...


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