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Last Updated:  Friday, 14 March, 2003, 15:29 GMT
Revenge so sweet for India
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at Centurion

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan took four wickets against NZ
One of the innovations for spectators at this World Cup is a facility which allows fans to send text messages to the scoreboard.

After every few overs a couple of these are flashed up and after 20 overs of the New Zealand innings, with the score 70 for five, the following message was relayed.

"We need catching practice in the stands."

Usually at Centurion Park, the sixes rain down onto the grassy banks which surround this attractive ground.

Alert spectators have pulled off some decent catches when the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Sachin Tendulkar have got going.

Sometimes, of course, these fans are just protecting the steaks sizzling on their braais.

But such was the dominance of India's seamers throughout the Kiwi innings that not one lunch was ever in danger of being ruined.

HAVE YOUR SAY

With two wickets falling in the first over, and two more before the fielding restrictions were over, India had their feet firmly pressed against the Kiwis' throats.

And that is exactly how it stayed throughout New Zealand's brief visit to the crease.

Before the match, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was at pains to point out that there would be no let-up for this fixture, which they did not need to win.

He promised they would field their strongest team, which they did, and he also boldly declared his team had already beaten sides with better bowling attacks than New Zealand's.

For their part, the Black Caps warned that India's confidence might work against them.

And after a shaky start to their reply it looked like India were playing into Kiwi hands.

Unfortunately for New Zealand, the wobble was short-lived.

There was a bit of unresolved business about this match.

Sourav Ganguly
Ganguly's men are on course to play Australia in the final

Many wrote off India's World Cup chances after they lost a one-day series against the Kiwis 5-2 at the start of the year.

However the pitches were absolute shockers in New Zealand, after a very wet early summer down there.

But on another perfect day at Supersport Park, Indian fans felt justice had now been done.

Manoj Dudrak, a 26-year-old from Birmingham, said: "There was nothing true about those surfaces [in New Zealand]. The Kiwis must have felt embarrassed about winning that way.

"This is definitely revenge time, but this time we're playing them on an even surface so they can't complain.

"Hopefully we've sent New Zealand home now. I know Australia-New Zealand would be a good semi-final, but it looks like the Kiwis are out now."

His friend Kam Sondhi, 23, from Surrey, added: "I hope Sri Lanka win tomorrow - that will teach the Kiwis for not going to play in Kenya."

And so the Indian bandwagon rolls on.

Their World Cup did not end with the win against Pakistan - far from it - and now many of their fans are flooding back into South Africa, buying match tickets off touts.

The players must thrive on the support they get and with New Zealand added to the growing list of teams they have beaten in convincing fashion, it's time to say roll on Australia.


SEE ALSO
India overwhelm Kiwis
14 Mar 03 |  Team Pages
India sweep past New Zealand
14 Mar 03 |  Photo Galleries
Full scorecard
14 Mar 03 |  World Cup
India v NZ: over-by-over
14 Mar 03 |  Team Pages
Have Your Say on India
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say


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