Tendulkar, Sehwag make merry but India bowled put for 296 (Lead)March 12th, 2011 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS
Nagpur, March 12 (IANS) Sachin Tendulkar scored his masterly crafted 99th international century but his dismissal at 267 triggered an amazing collapse — nine wickets crashing for 29 runs — as India were bowled out for 296 in 48.4 overs in their key World Cup Group B match against South Africa here Saturday.
It was carnage earlier as Tendulkar (111) and his opening partner Virender Sehwag (73) smashed the South African attack with Gautam Gambhir (69) joining the party to raise visions of a 350-plus total.
But once Tendulkar left early in the batting Powerplay, there was an unending procession as batsman after batsman committed hara-kiri leaving their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12 not out) a mute witness at the other end.
India completely lost the plot from the 40th over when they actually should have gone on the rampage after the start they got. Instead, the Indians managed merely 28 runs with great difficulty off the last 52 balls. Worse, they could not play out the full 50 overs.
In the Powerplay between 39-43 overs, India lost four wickets including those of Tendulkar and Gambhir.
Tendulkar, however, majestically got to his sixth World Cup century and second in this edition, following the 120 in the tied-match against England. It was his 48th ODI hundred.
Tendulkar (111) and Virender Sehwag (73) rattled up 142 runs in 17.4 overs and South Africa, smarting from the defeat against England in Chennai, looked lost at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Jamtha.
Graeme Smith, who is hailed as the smartest captain of this World Cup with his clever bowling changes, was clueless and the 44,000 boisterous crowd was on its feet.
But there was a sudden swing in fortunes. As South Africa heaved a big sigh of relief seeing Tendulkar’s back, they got a further bonanza of quick wickets. Gambhir was the next to go and Yusuf Pathan (0) and Yuvraj Singh (12) followed him in the Powerplay.
As has happened often in this tournament, the batting Powerplay yet again proved the undoing of the batting side.
Once the top-order batsmen fell, the Indians lost the momentum and South Africa grabbed the opportunity to come back strongly. Dale Steyn (5-50) ran through the middle order.
Smith trusted his fast bowlers — Steyn and Morne Morkel — to do the job and brought in his spinners only when the others could not check the run flow.
The speedsters extracted pace and got good bounce from the wicket, but they erred in line more often coming under heavy fire from Sehwag.
Sehwag was his usual self, teeing off with a four off Steyn and then cracking Morkel for three more in the sixth over. He dispatched the first one through the covers, the next one was thumped straight and the third cut imperiously.
Tendulkar was at his punishing best, beautifully controlling the innings in the middle overs. He hit eight fours and three sixes in his 101-ball unblemished knock.
Three sixes that flew from Tendulkar’s bat were a treat — a pull off Steyn over backward square leg before smacking Jean-Paul Duminy and Robin Peterson into the straight-field. His timing was impeccable, more so when he drove straight.
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Tags: batsman, boisterous crowd, carnage, collapse, cricket association, dhoni, four wickets, gautam gambhir, graeme smith, hara kiri, key world, mute witness, nine wickets, odi, sachin tendulkar, sigh of relief, vca, vidarbha, yusuf pathan, yuvraj singh