Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Brian Lara made the curious decison today to bat at number 9, and was left stranded on 40 not out, with the Windies needing another 17 runs for victory over India.

Lara's men have already qualified for the final of the DLF triangular tournament and will meet the winner of Friday's game between the Aussies and India in the final. India's batsmen performed woefully again today with the exception of Sachin Tendulkar, who made 65, as they were bowled out for 162.
Dwayne Smith took 4-31 and had good support from Dwayne Bravo (6-0-16-1) and Chris Gayle (5.3-0-15-2). Lara can be pleased with his bowlers and his own batting today. However he will have to be less complacent in order to win the final and bat in his favourite number 4 position. Tendulkar is in cracking form, as is Mike Hussey for the Aussies, so whoever Lara faces in the final there will be no room for mistakes.
Expect two more close games to end this interesting tournament, Friday's match definately promises to be a cracker. India and Australia have been drawn in the same group for the ICC Champions Trophy and both sides will now look to gather momentum.
England are also in this tough group and can take some solace from the poor form of India's batsmen. The return of Jimmy Anderson, who has had previous success in the subcontinent, and his Lancashire team mate Andrew Flintoff as skipper should also serve as a big boost in the England camp. Anderson's 75 one-day wickets have come at a strike rate of 32.7, notibly better than Flintoff's 35.3, Muttiah Muralitharan's 36.2 and Glenn McGrath's 35.

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