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ICC Champions Trophy
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September 22, 2002
1810 IST [Updated at 2150]

Pool A:
Aus | Ban | NZ

Pool B:
Ind | Eng | Zim

Pool C:
Ken | SA | WI

Pool D:
Ned | Pak | SL

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Sehwag, Ganguly lead India
to thumping win

Faisal Shariff in Colombo

Virender Sehwag continued his romance with Colombo, scoring his second hundred in one-dayers. A year ago, he had revived his career by hitting a 70-ball hundred against New Zealand at the SSC (the other ground in Colombo).

Skipper Sourav Ganguly then dug into the English attack and scored his 19th one-day hundred as India beat England by eight wickets, with more than 10 overs to spare, to enter the semi-finals in the Champions Trophy.

Batting first in Sunday's crucial match, England posted 269 for seven in their 50 overs, thanks to a brilliant 82 from all-rounder Ian Blackwell. But the total was made to look woefully inadequate as a magnificent 126 from opener Sehwag and an unbeaten 117 from Ganguly saw India race to the target in 39.3 overs.

The 24-year-old Sehwag tore into England's new-ball attack as he and Ganguly piled on 192 for the first wicket.

Sachin Tendulkar [9] was the other unbeaten batsman as India finished on 271 for 2.

England innings

"I hope that I can impress them and try to get my foot in the door," said Ian Blackwell, after he was picked in the England squad for the ICC Champions Trophy.

With a blistering 68-ball 82, the 24-year-old southpaw did more than that on Sunday, as England set India a stiff target of 270.

Sourav Ganguly used eight bowlers but failed to bowl England out despite knocking off high-scoring opening batsman Marcus Trescothick for a duck.

On Saturday, at the media conference, Ganguly seemed to be in no hurry. Today, after losing the toss and fielding first, he showed an overwhelming urgency to rush through the England innings. He signaled his bowlers to rush through with their overs and marshaled his troops to run and take up their positions, pointing towards the watch strapped on his wrist.

England had the worst possible start. Trescothick was arrested by the law of averages and edged Ashish Nehra to VVS Laxman at second slip for an eight-ball duck.

In the same over, Hussain nicked the ball, which popped in and out of Dravid's gloves. Off the next ball, Hussain and Knight failed to agree on a single, but Kaif's direct throw missed the stumps.

An over later Hussain, who batted as if playing a 10-over-a-side match, shaped to play the hook and redeemed Dravid with an easy catch on the edge of the circle.

Hussain won the toss but lost the early battle with the scoreboard reading a sorry 7 for 2. The seam attack of Zaheer Khan and Nehra suffocated the English batsmen, offering no oxygen for runs.

Ganguly bowled the 15th over of the innings and number four batsman Ronnie Irani slapped two consecutive fours in an attempt to up the ante. 33 runs came off the first ten overs. The next 33 runs came off only five overs. Irani was lucky to survive a run-out bid when Dravid, not enjoying his finest day behind the wickets whipped the bails off without the ball in his gloves even as the batsman had given up.

Knight stitched a 73-run partnership before Kumble's googly trapped Irani in front. Umpire Steve Bucknor, without referring to the television umpire, took almost 20 seconds to give the decision even as the bowler and the fielders had given up appealing.

Irani was gone for 37 with the score reading 80 for 3, in the 19th over. Knight guided the England innings with a crucial half-century, compiled with deft nudges and smart deflections.

Yuvraj Singh, who had earlier missed a couple of run-out chances, allured Knight with a well-flighted delivery. The batsman walked right into the trap and hit the ball straight to Harbhajan Singh at long on. He was gone for 50, with the score reading 127 for 4.

Owais Shah departed soon after for an industrious 47-ball 37, caught at the wicket off Kumble. (153-5)

Somerset's Ian David Blackwell, playing his second one-day international, punched the Indian bowling around in an innings blended with raw power and shrewdness. The 17-stone Blackwell bludgeoned the Indian spinners -- five in all, racing away to his maiden half-century off just 52 balls.

The Indian seamers failed to maintain the early discipline as Blackwell took them apart. In the 47th over, bowled by Nehra, Blackwell smashed three fours as England coasted towards the 250-run mark.

Alec Stewart kept him company with a breezy 35 before Tendulkar had him caught by Ganguly inside the circle.

A brilliant throw from Sehwag at long-on saw Blackwell's innings end in the 49th over.

A replacement for Andy Flintoff, the burly youngster indeed impressed with his 68-ball 82, which was studded with six boundaries and three sixes.

England ended at 269 for 7 off their 50 overs, setting the Indian batsmen a challenging target once again.

The fifth bowler's slot cost the Indians 66 runs off 11 overs as India let England slip away.

India innings

Nasser Hussain won half the battle when India batted by plugging all the run-scoring avenues for Ganguly. He, however, lost the other half to Sehwag, who punctured the English field with his sublime strokes.

On hindsight, England will reckon they lost the match in the first over of the Indian innings when an edge of Sehwag's bat flew past an air-borne Nick Knight at second slip, off Andrew Caddick.

Even as Hussain turned his field around to search the Indian openers, Sehwag had the answer; in fact, two at times.

Andy Caddick was the first casualty of the Sehwag ambush. He was cut past point and flicked through square leg. Two successive straight drives and one audacious drive past point agonized Caddick in a single over. The bowler's first spell read a sorry six overs for 49 runs.

Those watching the game for the first time would have been forced to believe that runs could only be scored from boundaries.

Sehwag ended the ninth over of the innings with a most extraordinary six over third-man, off a Caddick bouncer.

If the innings could be encased it would go down as a collector's item on auction. Some shots were laced along the ground while some just flew through the air. The destination was the same; only the avenues changed.

As the impetus grew, Hussain realized the futility of the proceedings. Sehwag, with his statuesque grace, yet again reminded us that he is marked for greatness.

Ganguly, with the finest seat in the stadium, watched the innings from the non-striker's end, his innings overshadowed and ignored. But as captain there was nothing more he could have asked for. The highlight of his partnership with Sehwag was the fact that he did not try to compete with Sehwag or match his stroke-play.

Firing a square-drive to the fence off Caddick, Sehwag reached his half-century off a mere 37 balls. He celebrated by flicking the next one over the square leg fielder for another boundary. A defeated Caddick bowled the next one from round the wicket. The result: a cover drive of the top most quality. The expression of defeat on Caddick's face reflected the England camp's morale.

Eschewing the extravagant shots once he sniffed a hundred, Sehwag exhibited the cautious side to his batting. He deflected the ball behind square, manoeuvred the bowling through the gaps for singles and slowly strolled into the nineties.

Hoicking Irani over the mid-on fielder for his 17th boundary, he reached his second century in the shorter version of the game off only 77 balls. 74 of his 100 runs were scored in boundaries which explains the reason why Sehwag has the third best strike rate in one-day history -- 99.14 -- behind Pakistan's Shahid Afridi and Ian Smith of New Zealand, for any player having scored a minimum of 1000 runs.

Sehwag was dismissed for 126 while offering a simple catch back to the left-arm spinner Ian Blackwell. His 135-minute stay at the crease was laced with 21 boundaries, a six and 24 singles.

Laxman, who had replaced Dinesh Mongia in the side, was run-out for four after Ganguly refused a single; an error of judgement by Ganguly, which he duly acknowledged in the post-match conference.

The match was well in the bag by then for the Indians, with Ganguly's 19th ODI hundred the only interest left in the game.

Having played the passive supporting role to the blitzy Sehwag knock, Ganguly emerged wiping the cautious sheen off his bat. What followed was bedlam as he tore into the English attack as if pursuing a personal vendetta.

Dancing down the track he sent Ashley Giles out of the attack. Irani, who runs faster than his deliveries, was treated with scant respect as was the tortured Caddick, who finished with figures of 59 runs off his seven overs. All the bowlers were driven through the off, marking different points on the cover boundary.

With a six off Blackwell, Ganguly reached his hundred, off 103 balls. Raising his hands towards the dressing room, the Indian skipper truly capped a most surreal day for India.

India romped home in the 40th over by eight wickets.

India play South Africa in the semi-finals, in what will be a repeat of the last ICC knock-out tournament in 2000.

Scoreboard | Images


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