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ICC Champions Trophy
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September 15, 2002
1235 IST

Pool A:
Aus | Ban | NZ

Pool B:
Ind | Eng | Zim

Pool C:
Ken | SA | WI

Pool D:
Ned | Pak | SL

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Kaif rates NatWest final
knock better

Despite hitting a match-winning century in India's opening match against Zimbabwe, in the Champions Trophy on Saturday, talented young batsman Mohammad Kaif says his his unbeaten 87 in the NatWest Trophy final, against England, at Lord's two months ago, was better.

"I would say Lord's was my best. It was under different conditions. England were playing at home and beating them there is a difficult task," Kaif said after India's narrow 14-run victory over Zimbabwe in the Group B match in Colombo.

The 21-year-old former India under-19 World Cup-winning captain said in the NatWest Trophy final, which India eventually won by two wickets, India were under pressure and chasing a stiff target.

"I'm quite happy that I could play the same job [as in the NatWest final] today. It was a good wicket to bat on," he added.

Kaif's unbeaten 111 lifted India from a precarious 87 for five to a healthy 288 for 6.

He said playing at number seven is always a tough task as one gets fewer overs to play or is in the midst of a tight situation by the time one comes in to bat.

"It's a matter of how you prepare yourself to play there," he said, explaining that he had been practising in the nets keeping his position in the batting order in mind.

Kaif's undefeated 111 is the highest ever by a number seven batsman in the one-day version of the game. It is only the second occasion that a number seven batsman has scored a hundred. The first was when Hashan Tilekeratne, of Sri Lanka, scored 100 against the West Indies, in Sharjah in 1995.

Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak said Kaif played a very composed innings and ran his singles well. In the company of Rahul Dravid, he had given India a perfect platform and "a cushion of runs" to bowl with.

"They played sensible cricket, but we also didn't put much pressure, bowled short and gave some width," he added.

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