India breeeze to a 153-run win over SA

Mohammad Kaif struck an unbeaten 95 to power India to a 153-run victory over South Africa in the three-nation tournament here on Sunday.

The 22-year-old missed out on his second century but played a well-paced knock that helped the World Cup finalists to a massive 307-4 after electing to bat at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

In reply, South Africa folded for 154 in 35 overs. Captain Sourav Ganguly (75) and Dinesh Mongia (55 not out) also came up with fine essays for India, who scored their second consecutive win in the tournament, having beaten Bangladesh on


Kaif struck seven boundaries and three sixes off 103 balls in his fifth one-day half-century in 49 matches and was associated in useful partnerships with Ganguly and Mongia.

The batsman was quick to come down on loose deliveries, putting on 86 runs for the third wicket with his captain and 110 for the unbroken-fifth wicket with Mongia.

“I am very happy with my performance today. Winning the match was more important than getting a century.
We are playing well as a team and hope to win the tournament here,” Kaif said after the match.

His skipper Ganguly hit seven fours and two sixes in a 79-ball knock while Mongia’s cameo came off just 38 deliveries with the help of six hits to the fence.

Earlier, Virender Sehwag scored 37 after being let off by Robin Peterson at square-leg off left-arm seamer Charles Willoughby when he was yet to open his account.

His opening partner and fellow Delhi player Gautam Gambhir failed once again, scoring 18 after his 11 against Bangladesh.

Seamer Allan Dawson took two wickets for South Africa after new-ball bowler Willoughby gave a poor account of himself, spraying the ball around and going for 77 runs in his 10 overs.

India plundered 101 runs in the last 10 overs as Kaif and Mongia toyed with a pedestrian bowling attack.

The South African reply under floodlights never took the desired direction as seamer Ajit Agarkar took the early wickets of captain Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph.

South Africa were reduced to 57-4 in the 15th over and the much-needed big partnership was unable to develop in the face of consistent bowling.

Mark Boucher was the only one to apply himself well, scoring 48 off 60 balls before being dismissed in trying to go for a big heave.

Sehwag finished with three wickets while Ganguly, Harbhajan and Agarkar took two each.

South Africa’s Graeme Smith, at 22 years and 71 days, became the second-youngest captain in one-day history and the youngest to lead his country.

Pakistan’s Waqar Younis holds the world record at 21 years and 354 days, leading his side against the West Indies at Sharjah in 1993-94.

India made one change from the side that thrashed Bangladesh by 199 runs in the opener, debutant leg-spinner Amit Mishra coming in for paceman Aavishkar Salvi. Jacques Rudolph made his debut for South Africa.

Meanwhile, India coach John Wright joined the team after a trip home to New Zealand. Stand-in coach Ashok Malhotra will now be his deputy for this tournament.

South Africa and Bangladesh clash in the next match of the day-night tournament on Monday. - Sapa-AFP

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