Kumar, Sehwag help India enter final

Praveen Kumar grabbed three early wickets and Virender Sehwag smashed a superb century as India entered the tri-series final with an emphatic 105-run win over New Zealand.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 26 Aug 2010, 12:58 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:20 AM

India, with 10 points from four matches, will clash with Sri Lanka (11 from four) in the final on Saturday. New Zealand finished their league engagements with seven points.

Paceman Kumar finished with 3-34 as New Zealand, chasing a 224-run target, were shot out for 118 in 30.1 overs — their lowest total against India in one-day internationals.

India were indebted to man-of-the-match Sehwag for posting a competitive total as the hard-hitting opener cracked one six and 16 fours in a 93-ball 110 for his 13th one-day hundred.

‘He (Sehwag) is the only batsman who seems to be middling the ball well,’ said Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. ‘It was really good to bat with him.

‘In the second half of the game, the bowlers did the job for us. We give Praveen the new ball because he has a good control over his swing. Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel also did a good job.’

India virtually wrapped up the match when they sent New Zealand struggling at 22-4 in the ninth over, with Kumar taking three wickets.

Tail-ender Kyle Mills hammered an entertaining 52 for his second half-century in one-dayers, but his knock came too late to stop India from the winning the match.

Mills hit three sixes and seven fours in his 35-ball knock.

Kane Williamson (13), Grant Elliott (11) and Tim Southee (10) were the others to reach double-figures in New Zealand’s disappointing batting performance.

Fast bowlers Patel (3-21) and Nehra (2-10) were India’s other main wicket-takers.

‘The way Sehwag batted, it took the game away from us,’ said New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor.

‘They then bowled full and straight and made us make tough decisions. The ball has been swinging all through the tournament.’

New Zealand paceman Southee (4-49) and off-spinner Nathan McCullum (3-35) earlier shared seven wickets to bowl India out for a modest total despite Sehwag’s century.

India were tottering at 66-4 in 13 overs after electing to bat when Sehwag propped up the innings with a 107-run stand for the fifth wicket with Dhoni (38).

Southee, Mills and Andy McKay tested the Indian batsmen with pace and bounce in their lively opening spells to help New Zealand seize the early initiative.

Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina all failed to reach double-figures.

Southee took two wickets while Mills and McKay grabbed one apiece before Sehwag and Dhoni steadied the innings with their sensible knocks.

Although wickets fell at regular intervals from one end, Sehwag kept playing attacking strokes from the other and raced to his half-century off 41 balls when he hit seamer Scott Styris through the covers for his ninth four.

Sehwag then hit McCullum for a straight six and a four through the covers off successive deliveries. He took 46 more balls to complete his century, with a single off spinner Williamson.

The Indian opener fell playing shots, caught at deep mid-wicket by Bradley-John Watling off McCullum in the 33rd over.

McCullum struck again when he had Dhoni caught by wicket-keeper Gareth Hopkins, who took four catches.

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