Cricket Classics

India v Zimbabwe, 1st ODI, 2000, Cuttack

Thursday, May 08, 2022
Sportz Interactive
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When: December 2, 2000
Where: Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
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SERIES BRUSH-UP

  • Mixed fortunes for the skipper: Ganguly's stint as ODI captain was a mixed bag so far. After being handed the reigns in early 2000, India won only one ODI series with Ganguly at the helm. It was a big chance for him to regain confidence with a series win over a relatively weaker side.
  • Brothers of Destruction: The Flower brothers had been the mainstay of Zimbabwe's batting line-up for several years. On this tour too, the two were in great form. Andy in particular, was in the form of his life, having picked up the Man of the Series award in the Test matches.
  • First taste of win: In their previous nine ODI outings in India, Zimbabwe failed to win a single game. So, Heath Streak's men were gunning to create history with their first victory on Indian soil in this series.
  • During the late 1990s, the Zimbabwean team was an unnerving cricket side. The likes of Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Heath Streak, Murray Goodwin, Neil Johnson and Guy Whittal surfaced to form a resilient and spirited unit, which battled fearlessly against the upper-echelon teams of the cricketing world. India in particular have faced some shocking defeats at the hands of the African minnows in the past decade.

    Zimbabwe's tour of India in 2000 can be marked as ‘Andy Flower’s series’. The southpaw was in terrific form on the tour as he amassed a staggering 540 runs in the 2-Test series prior to the one-day matches. But despite Andy's herculean efforts, his team lost the series by a narrow margin of 1-0.

    After a high-scoring Test series, the action between the two nations shifted to the five-match one day series. The first match of the series took place at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Surprisingly, the attires for the one-day matches weren't coloured clothing, but traditional the white outfit. And instead of a white ball, the red cherry was to be used for the entire series.

    Zimbabwean skipper Heath Streak won the toss in front of a jam-packed Barabati Stadium crowd and elected to bat first. Streak's decision was obvious as the pitch was a flat deck on which runs were easy to come by.

    Both India and Zimbabwe made plenty of changes from their respective Test squads. Indian captain Ganguly backed youngsters for the ODI series and brought in fresh blood in the form of Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Hemang Badani, Vijay Dahiya and Reetinder Singh Sodhi, who was making his ODI debut. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe banked on one-day specialists like Douglas Marillier, Travis Friend and Dirk Viljoen to deliver the goods.

    Zimbabwe opened with the left hand - right hand combination of Alistair Campbell and young Douglas Marillier. Zaheer Khan took the new ball responsibility for India along with Venkatesh Prasad. The former got his team the first breakthrough when he dismissed a dodgy Marillier for 8 runs off 24 balls.

    Commanding partnership:


    © AFP

    Campbell then took the initiative to give the innings a direction by blending with Stuart Carlisle. The duo dominated the Indian pace attack in their initial burst, especially Ajit Agarkar, who took most of the thrashing from the two African batsmen. The Mumbai seamer was belted for 32 runs in his first spell.

    The well-set partnership of Campbell and Carlisle was worth 115 runs. It was Zimbabwe's best partnership for the second wicket against India in India. They surpassed the previous best 69-run stand between Grant Flower and Goodwin in 1998.

    Fatal hiccups:

    FINER POINTS

  • Reetinder Singh Sodhi became the 135th player to make his debut for India in the one-day internationals.
  • Hemang Badani and Vijay Dahiya equaled India's highest stand for the 6th wicket by sharing a 60-run partnership.
  • The 102-run stand between Tendulkar and Ganguly was their 11th century partnership. It placed them four behind West Indies duo of Greenidge and Haynes
  • Hemang Badani's 58 not out was his highest score at that time and he won his maiden Man of the Match award in just his fourth game.
  • Just when Zimbabwe were cruising along nicely towards a big total, the Indian bowlers forced the breaks. First, Agarkar got rid of a dangerous looking Campbell for 68 runs. The southpaw's 92-ball inning's witnessed seven balls kissing the boundary ropes and a massive six.

    The fall of Campbell triggered a collapse and Zimbabwe started losing their way. Ganguly realised that the 22-yard track was slowing down and quickly started using more of his medium pace bowlers. Andy Flower, who was in ominous form, was stumped by a smart piece of glovework from Vijay Dahiya off the bowling of Tendulkar for just 11 runs.

    Specialist spinner Sunil Joshi, along with debutant Reetinder Sodhi started tightening the grip on the run-flow with some thoughtful bowling. Grant Flower who came in to bat at the dismissal of his brother managed a brisk 25 runs before being sent back to the pavilion by Agarkar.

    With the innings nearing the end, Guy Whittal caressed couple of boundaries to make his way to a quickfire 20. Venkatesh Prasad then accounted for the wickets of Whittal and Heath Streak (5) in quick succession.

    Seeing wickets tumble at the other end, Stuart Carlisle started loosing momentum of his innings and slowed down his scoring pace. The right-hander would be stranded on 91 runs, his 4th one-day fifty. His knock came off 125 balls and included six hits to the fence. He thus became the sixth batsman for Zimbabwe to make a score in 'nineties' and remain not out.


    © AFP
    Dirk Viljoen (2) was run out in the final over and was the seventh and final Zimbabwean wicket to fall that day. The African nation managed to pull up a respective total of 253 runs at the end of their quota of overs.

    Agarkar bounced back well from a dismal first spell to pick up couple of wickets. But figures of 2-74 earned him the dubious record of becoming the bowler to concede the most runs in a match against Zimbabwe. The standout bowler for India in the match was Venkatesh Prasad, who finished with proud figures of 2-29 from 10 overs.

    Blossoming start:

    Chasing a challenging target of 254 runs was a tricky task for the Indian side. But with the fabulous trio of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid in the top three, it was expected of them to finish the job with ease.

    SIGN POST

  • Ganguly's decision to field more youngsters in the team paid off as India went on to clinch the series with a convincing margin of 4-1.
  • Zimbabwe finally registered their first win on Indian soil after they emerged victorious by a solitary wicket in the third one-day at Jodhpur.
  • Agarkar was one wicket short of the milestone off 100 ODI wickets after the first match. He went on to achieve the milestone in the 3rd one-day at Jodhpur.
  • Ganguly didn't captain the side in the final game of the series at Rajkot. Rahul Dravid got the opportunity to lead India for the first time. He didn't disappoint as India won the final ODI by 39 runs.
  • Ganguly went on to win the Man of the Series award for his tally of 264 runs from four matches. Tendulkar amassed 287 runs but played a game more than the 'Prince of Kolkata'.
  • The vintage opening combination of Tendulkar and Ganguly opened the innings for India. The pair was second on the list of the most successful opening pairs in ODIs, behind the West Indian couple of Greenidge and Haynes.

    Both the Indian openers began well, punishing the Zimbabwean bowling attack comprising of Friend, Olonga and Streak for some erratic stuff. Tendulkar in particular, was looking more dangerous as he dazzled seven gorgeous boundaries. Ganguly looked happy with just rotating the strike and watching the master-blaster demolish the bowlers from the other end.

    The duo shared a stand of 102 runs between them in the first twenty overs. Looking at his opening bowlers go for plenty, Streak quickly introduced Dirk Viljoen into the attack after the drinks break. Tendulkar got the better of the slow left-armer as he swept him away for consecutive boundaries. But Viljoen had the last laugh, when the little master played a loose shot to hand Streak a simple catch.

    The champion batsman had scored 44 runs in 49 deliveries to give his side a great start.

    Disastrous setbacks:

    After the dismissal of Tendulkar, his opening partner Ganguly didn't last long as Viljoen dismissed him too in the space of one over. The Indian skipper was made to work hard by the Zimbabwean bowlers for his 44 runs. His knock took as many as 79 balls with three boundaries included in it.

    Youngster Yuvraj Singh came in next after Ganguly's exit. The Punjab-born southpaw showed his flare and aggression from the word go as he thumped two boundaries in the space of two overs. But leg-spinner Brian Murphy brought an end to Yuvraj's flamboyancy, trapping him LBW for 11 runs.

    An inform Rahul Dravid who looked in magic touch with the bat in the Test series was next to go. A horrific mix-up with debutant Reetinder Sodhi resulted in 'The Wall' caught stranded in the middle. The Flower brothers combined well to run Dravid out for nine runs.

    Sodhi didn't show too much of intent for his nine runs before getting himself needlessly run out. India lost five wickets in the space of 42 runs and were left tottering at 144-5 after 30 overs.

    Badani, Dahiya to the rescue:

    IMPACT PLAYER

    Hemang Badani (58 not out)

     
    It was Hemang Badani's impressive effort that pulled India out of danger and into series lead after the first match at Cuttack. The left-hander from Tamil Nadu displayed excellent temperament and class to play a gutsy unbeaten knock of 58 runs, his maiden ODI fifty. He went on to pick the Man of the Match award in just his fourth match.

    With this special effort, Hemang became a regular member of the Indian one-day middle order. His capability to bowl slow left-arm spin and his sharp fielding made him a useful asset in the playing eleven.
     

    With India looking right down the barrel, youngsters like Hemang Badani and Vijay Dahiya decided to shoulder the responsibility. The duo started tentatively and took their time to settle down. But once they started seeing the ball well, both the batsmen threw caution to the winds and started playing attacking strokes.

    Dahiya was cutting, slashing and pulling the Zimbabwe bowlers, while Badani was at his elegant best, sending the ball crashing to the boundaries with silken ease. Both added valuable 60 runs for the 6th wicket at run a ball pace; Dahiya’s contribution to that partnership was 35 runs in as many balls. His innings was decorated with 3 smashing boundaries and a huge hit for six. A return catch to Brian Murphy brought an end to the Indian wicketkeeper's innings off the final ball of the 41st over.

    Sunil Joshi next stepped in but was sent back to the pavilion in quick time after Streak trapped him leg before wicket for a first ball duck. With 49 runs needed more off 52 deliveries and three wickets in hand, Ajit Agarkar next joined Badani at the crease. Both the batsmen started taking the game away from the African nation with some lusty blows and some swift running between the wickets.

    With each run being added to the scoreboard by the 8th wicket pair, Zimbabwe's opportunity of pulling an upset started fading. Badani and Agarkar shared a match-winning 50 runs stand off just 36 balls to propel their team to an astonishing 3-wicket victory. Agarkar cracked an unbeaten 19 runs off 16 balls with three boundaries to his name.

    Meanwhile, Hemang Badani crafted a magnificent maiden fifty in just his fourth ODI match. The Tamil Nadu batter scored a splendid 58 runs off 69 balls and remained not out in the end.

    With the win in the first ODI at Cuttack, India took a crucial 1-0 lead in the series. Ganguly's decision to bank on the youngsters paid off, as it was the fresh legs that largely took India safely past the Zimbabwe total. In praise of his young teammates, Ganguly said, "At 144 for five, I thought the game was going away, but Vijay Dahiya, Hemang Badani and Ajit Agarkar turned the tide in India's favour. They played well under pressure."

    India had unearthed yet another talented batting star in the form of Hemang Badani in this game. It was Badani's guts, grit and determination that helped India chase down the challenging Zimbabwean total. Badani was undoubtedly named the Man of the Match for his courageous maiden fifty. Badani mentioned, "I kept my cool and told Dahiya to go for ones and twos and not get distracted by the target. I also told Agarkar to not lose his wicket and play his normal game."

    Brief Scores

    India 255/7 (47.2 overs)
    Hemang Badani 58 not out, Ganguly 44, Tendulkar 44, Brian Murphy 2/45, Dirk Viljoen 2/46 defeated Zimbabwe 253/7 (50 overs) Stuart Carlisle 91, Alistair Campbell 68, Prasad 2/29, Agarkar 2/74


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