March 8 2009: Sachin Tendulkar missed out on a double hundreds in the third one day international against Newzeland at Christchurch after he was forced to retire to a stomach strain which he retained trying to slog the ball over midwicket in the 45th over of the innings. Earlier, Dhoni and the men proved their batting poweress as they mixed both courage at aggression to post a humongous score of 393/4 in their 50 overs which included a total of 18 sixes in the inning. Sachin scored a monstrous 165 not out before retiring hurt. Yuvraj Singh scored a quick fire 87 off 60 odd balls. Newzeland batsman showed great batting skills as the opening pair put on a stand of 180 runs plus. It was an easy road for India then as Newzeland lost wickets at regular intervals in an effort to keep the required run rate under check. The momentum turned in Newzeland’s favor when Kyle Mills and Tim Southee went after the Indian quickies, at one point taking Munaf for over 35 runs in 2 overs. India finally won the match in the 45th over taking Southee with Newzeland requiring about 45 runs for victory. With this 2-0 lead, India cannot lose the series. Sachin won a deserving Man of the Match award for his show of great batting against the mediocre Newzeland attack which missed the services of their captain Daniel Vettori. More match analysis and reviews inside..
Newzeland win the Toss
India retained the same side, Brendon McCullum stood captain as Daniel Vettori earlier left for his hometown following the birth of his first child.. McGlashan played the keeper in the absence of Vettori and the continuing thumb injury to McCullum that he sustained during the first match against India.
The sun was out and the weather looked good as we hoped for a good game of Cricket. The wicket looked different from the one used during the T20 match played earlier, and with a tinge of green on the surface McCullum did not hesitate in taking the field first. Dhoni concurred with the decision of choosing to bowl first if he had won the toss.
Newzeland Strike early
India off to a Rocky Start India lost Sehwag early to a full length delivery to Kyle Mills trying to compensate for a few dot balls played by Sachin earlier in the over.
Gautam Gambhir showed some form as he raised India’s 50 with a good shot played into the covers. Gambhir played a simple catch to the keeper trying to nudge the ball to third man f what was a decent over from Butler, leaving India at 65/2 in 12.5 overs. Yuvraj Singh steadied the ship building a partnership with Sachin as the duo took India past the 100 run mark.
Call it cleverness of Dhoni, Sachin or Yuvraj, India took the batting Powerplay earlier than any team in the world.. Between the overs 23 and 28 India scored over 75 runs, majority of which coming from the bat of Yuvraj Singh. Sachin too played some glorious shots through the covers to bring up his 50.. Yuvi continued to dominate the bowling as he raised his 50 in a very short span. More worries started for McCullum when Ian Buttler, the only bowler on the NZ side who looked like getting a wicket, pulled a thigh muscle ruling him out of the match and probably the series.
Yuvraj walked to a inside edge, caught McgGlashan, Bowled Grant Elliot. Dhoni joined Sachin in the middle with India at 203/3 in the 30th Over. It was domination from the Indian batsman from then on, Sachin took the responsibility of hitting the boundaries as Dhoni started to consolidate.
Sachin played some sensible shots as he raised his 100 and then soon a 150 continuing to smack Newzeland bowlers to all parts of the ground. Forced to retire in the 45th over to a stomach strain, missing out on what looked like a possible 200 and another record from the little master.. Suresh Raina cashed in on what was available to prove that he still was the preferred choice over the other Indian middle order batsman. India finished at a score of 393/4 at the end of 50 overs.
McCullum and Ryder show the way
Newzeland openers Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder opened the innings cautiously scoring just about 6 runs a over. All loose balls however were dispatched to the boundary with great authority by the opening duo. First bowling change brought in momentum into the NZ inning when both the batsman went after the bowling to bring about the 100 in the 14th over of the inning.
The Luck factor
Ryder thanked his luck when Dhoni dropped a sitter of the bowling off Munaf Patel behind the wicket. McCullum would also be scratching his luck when he was dropped by Yusuf Pathan at deep point of what was played straight into the hands in the very next over.
Both men raised their 50 and also the hopes of a record win. Spin was introduced, both Harbhajan and Yuvraj slowed the scoring a bit by taking off the pace. Jesse Ryder was however in no mood to slow things down, He played some magnificent shots off Harbhajan to bring the required run rate to under 7 an over.
Indian’s see a ray of hope
Dhoni was out of ideas and so were the Indian bowlers as they continually hammered even the good deliveries. To what looked like a bad Day for India on the field, It was only a mistake by the NZ batsman that could cost them a wicket as McCullum misjudged a single. He was out run out by Raina fielding at Short midwicket..
The match looked to be set for a Indian win as wickets kept falling at regular intervals with NZ batsman trying to keep the run rate under check. Indian bowlers relaxed and most of the NZ supporters were seen on their way home.
Fast Paced Action
Tim Southee joined Kyle mills in the middle when NZ lost their 8th wicket in the form of Ian Butler out bowled trying to smack a Yuvraj Singh delivery for a six. NZ required 125 from 72 deliveries. There seemed like no other way to go for NZ other than bang-bang, and that is what the batsman chose. Both Kyle mills and Tim Southee went after the Indian pace bolwers stiking a number of boundaries and sixes. The Indians were now feeling the pinch as Dhoni tried every single over. Munaf was the man in the firing line, His first 2 overs in the second spell were trashed for almost 35 runs. It was a mix of good hitting and poor bowling. The duo brought up the 50 partnership in no time.
The blessing in disguise
Unsure of who to bowl with NZ batsman in the hitting mood, Dhoni handed the ball back to Munaf Patel. Kyle mills would have had eyes lit up to see Munaf back into the attack. The first ball, smacked for a huge six. The second, a waist high full toss, Mills stroked the ball with full power only to hit it high. Dhoni took it with safe hands and Indians were celebrating. Mills stood his ground as both the umpires came together for a discussion. It was declared a no-ball, Dhoni had some heated conversation with Umpire Rudi Koertzen to try turning the decision in his favor. ‘No’ said the umpire, as Southee got ready to face the next delivery. A good delivery the next ball, Only a single. Every supporter was on the edge of their seat as Munaf ran in to bowl the third ball, this time a head high full toss. No apologies from Munaf, No regrets from Mills. Umpire Rudi koertzen banned Munaf from bowling any further in the match. Dhoni handed the ball to Yusuf Pathan to complete the over. The NZ batsman would have been dissappointed as the commentator continued stating how Munaf helped the match go down to the wire.
Three good deliveries from Yusuf, Dhoni should have been thanking all the gods including Rudi Koertzen for taking Munaf out. Part of the plan? Only Dhoni knows. Mills lost his leg stump off the last ball in the cut short Yusuf pathan over, out caught by Zaheer khan at short fine leg trying to play what is termed as the ‘Douglas Marrilier’ shot. Tim Southee looked like the last hope for NZ as Jeetan patel joined him in the middle. The hope ended, when Southee was out caught and bowled by Praveen Kumar in the first ball of the very next over. NZ all out for 334.
It turned out to be a fascinating encounter, If only vettori had been present. With a indispensable lead of 2-0 in the series with only 2 matches remaining, India cannot lose the series. A lot of changes can be expected in the Indian side in the next match on 11th of March, Wednesday, to be played at Hamilton.
The Indians would be relieved more than being delighted. The Indians were tagged the winners at the innings break but it’s the game of cricket, a game full of glorious uncertainties that took the centre stage.
Vettori will be back in the next one dayer to replace the injured Ian Buttler. McGlashan has been retained as the wicketkeeper for the next match as McCullum will continue playing only as a batsman following a thumb injury in the first ODI. Jeetan Patel could make way for another fast bowler for NZ to bring in some variety into the ‘Like’ NZ bowling attack.
Scorecard Courtesy: Sify Sports
Images courtesy: CricInfo
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