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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 11:54 GMT
India beat brave Zimbabwe
VB Series, match six, Brisbane: India 255-6 (50 overs) beat Zimbabwe 231 (47.1 overs) by 24 runs

VB SERIES TABLE
Sourav Ganguly takes a wicket
Australia P4 W3 L1 NR0 BP3 Pts 18 RR 1.23
India P4 W3 L1 NR0 BP2
Pts 17 RR 0.48
Zimbabwe P4 W0 L4 NR0 BP1 Pts 1 RR -2.12

India kept their nerve to record their third win of the VB series tournament as they defeated Zimbabwe by 24 runs.

Rahul Dravid (84) and Yuvraj Singh (69) were the mainstays in an Indian total of 255-6, sharing a stand of 114.

Zimbabwe batsman Mark Vermeulen had to retire hurt after being hit on the head and they appeared to have no chance after being reduced to 104-6.

Sean Ervine and Dion Ebrahim both made 39 after a rain hold-up but an unlikely victory proved just out of reach.

They did enough, however, to earn their first batting bonus point of the competition.

India went into the game with a below-strength side, as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Ajit Agarkar rested injuries.

It was a bit too tight at the end
Sourav Ganguly
Tendulkar's absence meant wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel was drafted in at the top of the order and the youngster contributed 19 to an opening stand of 41 with Ganguly before he was bowled by Heath Streak.

Ganguly (33) and VVS Laxman (12) followed during a good spell by Sean Ervine, but Dravid and Singh put the innings back on track by working the ball into the gaps and only going for an occasional powerful hit.

Singh was eventually bowled by spinner Ray Price, leaving Rohan Gavaskar to help Dravid see the total past 200.

Sean Ervine takes a wicket
Zimbabwe were delighted to see the back of the dangerous Laxman

Gavaskar hit the only six of the innings before he was bowled for 22 by Streak and Dravid was caught in the final over as Ervine returned figures of 3-47.

Zimbabwe had reshuffled their top order with Stuart Carlisle and Travis Friend replacing Vusi Sibanda and Stuart Matsikenyeri and it paid off initially as they reached 65-0 after 15 overs.

But Vermeulen had already returned to the dressing room, having been struck above the right eye by a ball from Irfan Pathan, resulting in a depressed skull fracture.

The relaxing of the fielding restrictions worked to India's advantage as Friend was run out attempting a single to mid-off, Flower was caught at deep point for 36 and Andy Blignaut carved to gully.

Ganguly then introduced his own medium pace and he bowled Streak as he played down the wrong line before having Tatenda Taibu caught for 15.

When the teams returned, Zimbabwe needed 150 off 20 overs and lost another wicket when Carlisle (34) got a thin edge to a ball from Ganguly and the ball lodged in the top of Patel's pad, enabling the keeper to complete the catch.

Ervine and Ebrahim refused to give up and some bold strokes, combined with enterprising running, carried the score forward quickly enough for their teammates to dream of an unlikely win.

Ganguly caught Ervine off Lakshmipathy Balaji to end a stand of 49 and the Indian captain held firm at mid-wicket under a skier to dismiss Ebrahim off the final ball of the 47th over, bowled by Pathan.

Price made 18 off 12 balls but the match ended when last man Doug Hondo attempted a single to mid-off from the next delivery and was beaten by Kumble's throw.


India: S C Ganguly (Capt), H K Badani, V V S Laxman, R Dravid R S Gavaskar, Yuvraj Singh, P A Patel (Wkt), I K Pathan, A Kumble L Balaji, A Nehra.

Zimbabwe : M A Vermeulen, D D Ebrahim, S V Carlisle, G W Flower T J Friend, H H Streak (Capt), T Taibu (Wkt), S M Ervine A M Blignaut, R W Price, D T Hondo.

Umpires: S J Davis and R E Koertzen




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