Kiwis scare India close to Shock victory

Read the article of Kiwis scare India close to Shock victory - Benson & Hedges World Series Cup one-day international tournament of the 6th ODI match played between New Zealand and India at Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth in 18th January 1986.

NEW Zealand, seemingly coasting to an easy victory over India in the one-day international at the WACA ground yesterday, faltered and stumbled before squeaking home.

Captain Kapil Dev revived India's flagging hopes with an inspired spell of fast bowling, during which he took 3-6 in the space of 16 deliveries. New Zealand, in full command at 2-77 in the 26th over and chasing only 114 for victory, crashed to be in serious trouble at 6-95. But then some controlled aggressive hitting by captain Jeremy Coney steered the Kiwis home. A four to Coney off Roger Binny gave NZ victory by three wickets with 9.5 overs to spare.

It was a welcome return to form by New Zealand, which had gained only one point from its first three matches in the limited-overs series. But it was not a convincing display of the side's talents. The batsmen were generally ill at ease and struggled for runs. However, the green pitch assisted the seam bowlers and not one batsman from either side was able to get on top of the attack.

The same pitch will be used for tomorrow's important clash between Australia and New Zealand, and once again the fast and medium pace bowlers are likely to be dominant. New Zealand's bowlers held command in the pre-lunch session and routed India for a miserable 113 off 44.2 overs. It was a dismal effort by the Indian batsmen, and the general lack of enthusiasm in the Indian side was evident in the early stages of New Zealand's innings.

Just when the cause for India looked completely lost, Kapil Dev called for a special effort and he applied tremendous pressure on the batsmen with his fiery bowling and aggressive field placings. For the first part of the New Zealand innings India lacked the sparkle and zest which has characterised much of their exciting play in international limited-overs cricket in recent years.

Then left-hand spinner Ravi Shastri put a brake on the batsmen and Kapil Dev lifted his rating to remove John Reid (14), Martin Crowe (33), and Jeff Crowe (0) in rapid succession in the space of 19 minutes to bring the crowd of 11,199 to life. Chetan Sharma then dismissed Richard Hadlee and Ervin McSweeney cheaply before Coney got his side over the line. 

Martin Crowe, who held firm for 73 minutes and played some delightful back-foot shots on the off side, was adjudged man of the match. Earlier, he had taken two catches and one wicket and had started the day by running out Indian opener Kris Srikkanth for a duck.

Coney's first decision in the match was a successful one. He had lost his three previous tosses in this series and decided to send Hadlee out deputise for him. Hadlee did the trick by calling correctly and for the fifth time in the first five matches of the series the team winning the toss sent the opposition in to bat. And for the fourth successive time this ploy proved to be a success.

India, the current world one-day champion side. were all at sea against the resolute New Zealand medium-pace attack. Kiwi skipper Jeremy Coney was aggressive in his approach and backed up his bowlers with attacking field placings throughout the innings.

India lost a wicket in the opening over and at no stage did the batsmen even remotely threaten to get on top of the bowling. Snedden snared his three wickets for 23 runs off eight overs. He was supported splendidly by Richard Hadlee (two for 16 off eight overs), Ewen Chatfield (two for 9 off 9.2 overs); and Stuart Gillespie and Martin Crowe, each with one wicket.

India never really looked like lasting its full 50 overs, and when wicketkeeper Kiran More. holed out at mid-off, the debacle was complete after 44.2 overs. It was a weak display by the talented Indian batting side, particularly after their easy victory over Australia in Melbourne on Thursday.

Only two Indian batsmen, Mohinder Amarnath and Ravi Shastri, reached 20 as wickets fell with monotonous regularity. Amarnath, who wa dropped at 15 by wicketkeeper Ervin McSweeney off Gillespie, top-scored with a painstaking 30 from 71 deliveries in 88 minutes.

Shastri, who came in at four for 60, lacked urgency and simply ambled his way to 23 off 47 balls in 70 minutes before being the ninth man out with the score at 108.