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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Team India keep Australia at bay in another 50 over thriller: CB Series final #2

India 9/258 [50 0vers] (S Tendulkar 91, Yuvraj Singfh 38, M S Dhoni 36, R Uthappa 30, N Bracken 3/31, M Clarke 3/52) defeated Australia 249 [49.4 overs] (J Hopes 63, M Hayden 55, M Hussey 44, A Symonds 42,P Kumar 4/46) by 9 runs: CB Series final #2 at Gabba, Brisbane.

The 9 run winning margin reflected the tightness of the contest, yet in truth India made the running for most of the game, though Australia, despite some uneven bowling and yet another top order batting collapse, didn't give up. It was another testimony to the capacity of the 50 over form of the game to provide cricket of a high quality.

Sachin Tendulkar's 91 was the cornerstone of the Indian innings: after he was fourth out at 205 for 91/121b (7x4, 0x6), the others folded, leaving a substantial but not rock solid total. Praveen Kumar's 4/31 prevented Australia from matching it, though there were times when it looked as if, with one or two more productive overs, they would have done so. But wickets fell regularly and finally James Hopes, one of Australia's next generation, fell for a gutsy 63/80b (4x4, 1x6 - just asit was needed to give Australia half a chance).

India deserved to win and I congratulate them on their success. They were the better side in the finals thanks to (1) Tendulkar's return to form, (2) the depth of talent, particularly young talent, and (3) some excellent team selections for the finals.

Australia are still a very good side, but they'll need to work on their batting and their bowling accuracy (12 wides was more than the difference between the two teams) and economy rates.



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