From the publishers of THE HINDU
Vol. 24 :: No. 44 :: Nov. 03 - 09, 2001
TRI-SERIES/INDIA V KENYA
A massive opening standG. VISWANATH
INDIAN cricket faced a potentially tough test (the circumstances making it so) against a weakling, Kenya, at Paarl in the hinterland of the Western Cape. Its pride was at stake after the 70-run defeat at the hands of the Kenyans a week before. India was regarded as a certainty for the final of the triangular tournament of the Summer Spice Series, long before the first ball was bowled by Shaun Pollock in Johannesburg. But an upset win for the Kenyans at Port Elizabeth, sent everybody into a tizzy.
The form book gave no indications of such a turnaround for the Kenyans, who had been thrashed by the South Africans twice and the Indians once before they scored their first points in Port Elizabeth. So the Indians were braced up for what was predicted as a match that would go to the wire. The Kenyans believed they were taking on the Indians on equal footing just on the basis of that win. "We have beaten them and why not go for another win?" said Kenya's captain, Maurice Odumbe, who had returned to lead the side after serving a two-match suspension.
The venue, Paarl, being a little away from Cape Town and this being a match in which the home team was not figuring, the turnout was poor. But Paarl, where some of the world's best wines are made, became the venue where India's opening pair, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, motivated themselves to better their own world record partnership for the first wicket (this time it was 258 and they had made 252 in the final of Sri Lanka's Nidahas Trophy four years ago in Colombo). Their effort was instrumental in India beating Kenya by a thumping 186 runs.
After the 15th over (India was 98 for no loss) the match had nothing to offer to the spectators as a contest. The Kenyan captain Odumbe got an opportunity to rearrange his fielders after the first 15 overs, but on this day, he probably required another 10 men to stop the gush of runs. Kenya was without Joseph Angara, who was chiefly responsible for India's sorry plight in Port Elizabeth.
As Odumbe said after being eliminated from the tournament: "Well, on a pitch like this, our bowling was always going to go for aplenty, especially if the batsmen in the middle were as they were. Well, I don't think he (Angara) would have made a big difference. There are instances of bowlers taking four wickets in one match and going for 60 or 70-odd runs for none in another."
It has been a great series, individually, for Ganguly and Tendulkar. They put on 193 and 101 against South Africa at The Wanderers and at Buffalo Park, East London. They had made 44 at The Centurion against South Africa and India won by 41 runs. Ganguly came into the match with a series aggregate of 260 runs and Tendulkar, 179.
Ganguly and Tendulkar began cautiously. They gave themselves some freedom against Martin Suji, but chose defence as a useful option while facing Thomas Odoyo, whose first five overs cost him just eight runs. Odumbe gave Odoyo an extra over and Ganguly smashed him for 12 runs. It included a six and a four. Odumbe made another bowling change, bringing in Peter Ongondo for Martin Suji who had gone for 41 runs from his first five overs. Tendulkar did not allow Ongondo a chance to settle down, taking three fours off him and the Indian pair's dominance was firmly established.
The Kenyan captain was compelled to remove Ongondo and Tony Suji after giving them short spells. Ongondo went for 26 from three overs and Tony Suji, 14 from two. Odumbe himself was hit for 44 from seven overs. Leg-spinner Collins Obuya bowled 10 overs for 52 runs and Steve Tikolo sent down 10 overs for 54. Martin Suji's second spell of two overs cost him 40 runs.
South Africans Gary Kirsten, Neil McKenzie and Mark Boucher had clobbered the Kenyan bowlers for 354 runs in the previous match at Cape Town, their team's second highest in limited-over internationals. There was the possibility of South Africa's 354 being bettered, but even Virender Sehwag's onslaught in the last over could carry the Indian total to only 351.
In the course of his 18th century, Ganguly crossed 7000 runs in one-day internationals (180 matches). He made 111 off 124 balls with seven fours and three sixes. Tendulkar made his 31st century (146) off 132 balls and with 17 fours. They broke a few records on the way. Their first 13 runs took them past Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes' aggregate of 5150 runs and their 16 century plus stands (three of them being made in this tournament) bettered Greenidge and Haynes' 15.
After Ganguly and Tendulkar's dismissals, Sehwag, also retained for the Test series, batted in thunderous style, making an unbeaten 55 off 23 balls, and like Ganguly, hit seven fours and three sixes. The opening pair raised 258 after which Sehwag helped add another 93. The first session was palpably one-sided. Asked to distinguish the big stand from the 252 they made in Colombo, Ganguly said: "Well, that was made in a final."
The Indian captain was quite pleased with the outcome. "Well, I think we had a decent game out there. But we have to start all over again. All these runs and records will not count, if we don't win the final." He did not see any advantage for him and Tendulkar though they had put on two century plus stands against South Africa (193 and 101) in this series. "We have to start at zero in the final, is it not?" asked Ganguly.
Ganguly's counterpart, Odumbe, made a strong plea for more exposure. He's disappointed at the quality of opposition they faced in the friendly games. "Our tour to the West Indies has been cancelled. I don't know the reasons. I think we should be staying back here to play more matches against provincial teams," said Odumbe.
India: S. Ganguly c Patel b Odoyo 111; S. Tendulkar c Odumbe b Odoyo 146; V. Sehwag (not out) 55; V. V. S. Laxman b Odoyo 15; Yuveraj Singh (not out) 10; Extras (b-1, lb-3, nb-2, w-8) 14. Total (for three wickets in 50 overs) 351.
Fall of wickets: 1-258, 2-270, 3-310.
Kenya bowling: M. Suji 7-0-81-0, Odoyo 10-0-67-3, Ongondo 3-0-26-0, T. Suji 2-0-14-0, C. Obuya 10-0-52-0, Tikolo 10-0-54-0, Odumbe 7-0-44-0, Patel 1-0-9-0.
Kenya: K. Obuya st. Dravid b Yuveraj 40; R. Shah (run out) 24; S. Tikolo lbw b Kumble 1; M. Odumbe c (sub) Prasad b Harbhajan 20; T. Odoyo st. Dravid b Yuveraj 12; H. Modi (not out) 31; M. Suji (not out) 14; Extras (b-11, lb-5, w-7) 23. Total (for five wickets in 50 overs) 165.
Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-57, 3-102, 4-104, 5-125.
India bowling: Srinath 7-1-27-0, Agarkar 7-1-15-0, Kumble 8-0-22-1, Sodhi 6-0-25-0, Harbhajan 7-1-14-1, Yuveraj 10-1-35-2, Sehwag 5-1-11-0.
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