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Tendulkar loss hurts India
September 08, 2004 12:32 IST
India meet Pakistan in the last and most mouthwatering clash of the ICC Champions Trophy group stages but the joint-holders must cope without top batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who is suffering from tennis elbow.
The game at Edgbaston on September 19 is a sell-out but both sides must first negotiate Kenya, who surprisingly advanced to the semi-finals of last year's World Cup.
Pakistan beat India by 66 runs in their last one-day meeting in the Netherlands triangular tournament last month before India lost 2-1 to England last week in another warm-up series.
Pace bowling has been a problem for India but Ashish Nehra and Lakshmipathy Balaji both showed with three wicket hauls in the warm-up games they are ready to step up.
Key batsman Rahul Dravid had been acting as wicketkeeper but in the last one-dayer against England, which India won by 23 runs, 19-year-old Dinesh Karthik took the gloves and looked impressive.
Pakistan lost to Australia twice prior to the tournament but periodically had the world champions in trouble.
"Overall the team performance was good. The main thing is finishing," captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said. "I think it (the India match) is a big game and we will try our level best. But the Indian team is very good."
Kenya were rocked by the suspension of Maurice Odumbe, originally named in the squad, for liasing with bookmakers but if anything the controversy has brought them closer together.
"We named Maurice as he was innocent until proven guilty," said captain Steve Tikolo, who is stepping down after the tournament. "What has happened is disappointing to Kenyan cricket as a whole but we have a chance to rise up from the disappointment."
Group C Fixtures:
September 11 - India v Kenya, Rose Bowl
September 14 - Pakistan v Kenya, Edgbaston
September 19 - India v Pakistan, Edgbaston