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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

India driven by fear of failure

March 18, 2003 17:37 IST


No team playing in a World Cup semi-final could ever be described as being in a no-win situation but India may feel they will come close to it against Kenya on Thursday.

Fear of defeat, indeed, might be as strong a motivation as India's desire to contest their first final since 1983.

Sourav Ganguly's side know they simply cannot afford to lose. Their fans, who have already shown how volatile they can be during this tournament, would never forgive them.

The Kingsmead day-nighter should be a no contest.

India, with Sachin Tendulkar in ominous form and their three-pronged pace attack as confident as they have been impressive, have won seven matches in a row. Kenya are among their victims.

An eighth consecutive win would equal India's record.

Kenya, meanwhile, are a non-Test side full of 30-somethings, none of whom would get into the India starting line-up. Good fortune, enthusiasm and a couple of fine performances have taken them to the last four but it would unthinkable for the east Africans to reach the tournament climax.

"Playing Kenya is better than facing any other side," Ganguly said. "But we want to be up for the game because Kenya have surprised quite a few teams."

Earlier in the tournament Tendulkar called on Indian fans to have patience after they pelted batsman Mohammad Kaif's house with paint and burnt an effigy of Ganguly following the team's mediocre start to the tournament.


There will be another doubt lurking at the back of Indian minds.

The Indian cricket board attempted without success to convince World Cup organisers to reschedule the semi-final as a day game, arguing that the toss had already had a big influence on previous Cup day-nighters in Durban.

Almost all of the matches under lights at Kingsmead and at Newlands in Cape Town had led to teams winning the toss going on to win the game after batting first.

India broke that trend by beating Kenya in Cape Town in their first day-night confrontation on March 7 despite losing the toss.

But they were given a few scares on the way as they were reduced to 23 for three in reply to Kenya's 225 for six before Ganguly produced a well-constructed century.

Kenya gave world champions Australia a similar scare at the same venue on Saturday after batting first, again in a day nighter.

Aasif Karim, a 39-year-old left-arm spinner back from retirement and without a wicket in his previous two matches in the World Cup, looked a world-beater in the evening conditions as he took three for seven in 8.2 overs.


India, though, who won the World Cup in 1983, know deep down they should reach the final again after missing out at the same stage in 1987, against England, and in 1996, against eventual winners Sri Lanka.

They have lost to Kenya twice in 11 one-day meetings.

Kenya coach Sandeep Patil -- coincidentally a member of India's 1983 Cup winning squad -- retains hopes of an upset, however.

"We are confident of doing well if we stick to the basics," he said. "Every batsman, even Tendulkar, is weak around the off-stump. If our bowlers show discipline, and fielding well, anything can happen."

Kenya opener Ravindu Shah also helped boost their collective confidence with as good a display against Australia strike bowler Brett Lee as anyone has produced at the World Cup.

His 46, compiled after Lee had sent Kennedy Otieno to hospital and taken a hat-trick to reduce Kenya to three for three, oozed class.


© 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: 21

Sub: Please change the topic of article

Please change the topic of your article.Nowadays it has become a trend to come with a catchy article heading.Please post sensible headings henceforth. -Subhash

Posted by subhash


Though cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties, it is extremely naive if someone thinks Kenya can beat India in such an important game.Anyhow goodluck ...


Sub: Fear Factor.

With the current combination the indian team has and the form they are in now, I think and feel that there is no need to ...

Posted by Indian

Sub: India's Fear

There is NO place for Fear for Ganguly's boys.Because win & lose are part of the GAME.ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS,PRAY FOR" ALL THE ...

Posted by shrinivasa Bellary,India

Sub: It is all rubbish!!

The author seems to be the biggest Pessimist I have ever seen. Why don't the author take some time off and appreciate the talent of ...

Posted by Manjula Swaminathan


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