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India win rain affected ODI
Napier, Mar 3 (Agencies)
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Published on 3 Mar. 2009 10:38 PM IST
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: India beat New Zealand by 53 runs in the rain-interrupted first one-day international at Napier on Tuesday to take a lead in the five-match series. India made 273-4 from 38 overs after their innings was halted for two-and-a-half hours because of rain. New Zealand were set a revised target of 216 to win off 28 overs after their reply was also interrupted by showers. However, the hosts could only manage 162-9, losing by 53 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method. India captain Mahendra Dhoni top-scored with 84 not out from 89 balls while opener Virender Sehwag blasted 77 from 56 and Suresh Raina 66 from 39. Martin Guptill led New Zealand’s reply with a solid 64 but their hopes of winning were destroyed when Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh captured three wickets in four balls. It was a day when Harbhajan ‘Turbunator’ Singh came back in his pristine form and sent tremors down the Kiwi batting line-up. He claimed three crucial wickets in the day’s play and ensured that the tempo for the rest of the series was set. The Indian players wore black armbands as a symbol of their support to the Sri Lankan team over the terrorist attack in Lahore. The only valiant stand from the hosts’ end came from the willow of Martin Guptill, who cracked a fine fifty before being claimed by a wily Bhajji special at 64. Even the part time bowlers Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan came true in the hour of need and maintained a tight line and length to make sure that the required run-rate only piled up for the opponents. The Indian ODI campaign started on a solid note as the comeback pacer Praveen Kumar rattled the Kiwi top order with his deliveries. Danger man Brendon McCullum was shown the exit for a duck and his opening partner Jesse Ryder too departed at 11 runs to become the second victim of Praveen Kumar. Yusuf Pathan ensured that the wickets didn’t dry up as he got Ross Taylor just when the batsman started to dictate the proceedings at Napier. A fiery knock of 66 off just 39 deliveries by left hander Suresh Raina put India in the driver’s seat after India had lost two quick wickets in the form of swashbuckling Sehwag (77) and Yuvraj Singh (2). Indian captain MS Dhoni played a captain’s knock of 84 runs from 89 balls to steer India to a huge total of 273 from 38 overs. A couple of hits to the fence and one over it from Yusuf Pathan (21 off 10) also helped the team’s cause. At the start of the Indian innings, the home team was rocked by a stupendous performance from the bat of Virender Sehwag who smashed 77 runs from just 56 balls after Sachin Tendulkar had departed after scoring 20. Yuvraj Singh could not manage to make an impact as he was wrapped up for 2 runs by a misunderstanding on the crease that resulted in a run-out. The match resumed after a delay in the proceedings due to a drizzle, as a result of which the match was reduced to 38 overs a side. A slight drizzle over the ground resulted in a short delay in the ongoing match after a period of 4.3 overs. MS Dhoni had won the toss and elected to bat first against New Zealand. The Indian squad was bolstered by the entry of Sachin Tendulkar in the playing eleven. Ishant Sharma had to miss the game due to a shoulder injury. The speedster expressed hope that he’d be able to regain fitness before the second ODI. The second match of the series takes place in Wellington on Friday.

 
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