Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Windies hold on to make semis

CLOSE-RUN THING Chasing India's modest total of 223, the West Indies looked comfortable before losing four wickets to set up a nerve-wracking finish


Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan, left, jumps in the air to celebrate the wicket of West Indian captain Brian Lara during their ICC Champions Trophy match at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday.


Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit a solid 51 to build on Ian Bradshaw's superb effort as the West Indies qualified for the Champions Trophy semi-finals with a tense three-wicket victory over India on Thursday.

Left-arm fast bowler Bradshaw carved out a rosy opening for his team when he grabbed three big wickets in his disciplined 10 overs to restrict India to a modest total of 223-9 in the Group-A match.

Man of the match Chanderpaul adjusted himself remarkably well on a slow track before his team overcame late hiccups to reach the target with two balls to spare for their sixth win against India in the last eight matches.

Defending champions West Indies were strongly placed at 212-3 before losing four wickets in the space of seven runs. They needed five runs in the final over before Marlon Samuels finished the game with a four off Ajit Agarkar.

Ramnaresh Sarwan (53) and Runako Morton (45) also played vital roles, adding 92 for the fourth wicket after left-handed Chanderpaul had put his team on the right track.

Captain Brian Lara, declared fit at the last minute after recovering from back spasms, contributed just five.

The West Indies, who have won both of their matches in the four-team group, will now take on a winless England today in their last league fixture.

Other semi-finalists will be the winners of India-Australia game at Mohali tomorrow as both have one victory after two matches. The top two sides advance to the last-four.

Little went right for India after they had been put in to bat in the day-night match. They batted inconsistently and then struck too late, leaving a capacity crowd disappointed.

The Bradshaw-inspired West Indies attack never allowed India to build a noteworthy partnership as only wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Dhoni (51) and skipper Rahul Dravid (49) offered resistance.

India then needed early wickets to put pressure on the West Indies in a low-scoring game but were thwarted by Chanderpaul, who put on 43 for the opening wicket with Chris Gayle (34) and 57 for the next with Dwayne Bravo.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh gave a good account of himself, taking one wicket for 27 runs in his tight 10 overs.

Chanderpaul, who missed the previous match against Australia due to food poisoning, celebrated his 200th one-day international with his 41st half-century which contained eight fours.

India earlier batted much below their reputation in home conditions and were in danger of falling below the 200-mark before Dhoni played aggressively under pressure.

His first half-century in 12 matches came at a time when the hosts were struggling at 131-5 following Bradshaw's triple-strike.

Dhoni improvised brilliantly in the final overs, smashing two successive sixes off spinner Gayle before being run out. His late flourish saw India gather 42 in the last five overs.

Bradshaw then put India under pressure when he bowled Irfan Pathan for nought and star batsman Sachin Tendulkar for 29, both the batsmen dragging the ball on to their stumps after mistiming their shots.

Dravid and Yuvraj Singh steadied the innings with a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket, but fell just when it was time to consolidate.

The Indian skipper looked set to complete his first half-century in 11 matches when he was run out, beaten by Dwayne Smith's direct-throw to the striker's end.

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