Mon, Oct 30, 2006 - Page 20 News List

India set Australia challenging target in deciding clash


Opener Virender Sehwag and skipper Rahul Dravid struck half-centuries as India set Australia a challenging target yesterday in a crucial match of the limited-overs Champions Trophy.

Sehwag struck a 90-ball 65 and Dravid contributed 52 as India made 249 for eight in 50 overs despite being kept in check by Australia's accurate pace attack.

The winner of this Group A contest will qualify for the semi-finals. Both India and Australia have one victory each.

Defending champion the West Indies has already secured passage into the semi-finals from this group by scoring two wins from three games, while South Africa and New Zealand have advanced from Group B.

Batting first after Dravid won the toss, Sehwag provided the early flourish, hitting nine boundaries as he struck form and hosted his 24th half-century from 160 one-day internationals.

Dravid hit six boundaries off 63 balls in his 72nd half-century from 300 one-dayers, but India could not accelerate the scoring after the captain's fall. Dravid also has 12 hundreds.

Struggling in one-dayers for more than a year, Sehwag was tentative at the start as he edged most of the shots. Benefiting from a dropped catch on 10 by Michael Clarke at point, Sehwag went on to dominate the partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar (10) and Dinesh Mongia (18).

Tendulkar got off the mark only in the fifth over with a boundary off Brett Lee.

The opening stand was worth 46 when Tendulkar departed in the 10th over, edging ace pacer Glenn McGrath to Adam Gilchrist, who snapped the catch to become the first wicketkeeper to claim 400 dismissals in limited-overs internationals.

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