| Indians celebrate after their semi-final win over South Africa in Colombo Wednesday. (AFP)
Colombo: Coming back from the jaws of death. That was exactly what the Indians went through against South Africa on their way to the ICC Champions Trophy final Wednesday.
The Indians seemed to have made it a habit of winning the close matches. And Virender Sehwag invariably has a role to play at the Premadasa, be it with the bat or the ball. If his hundred won the game against England the other night, Wednesday it was his bowling that did the trick.
“I never thought I would win a game for India with the ball. My aim was to restrict the run flow and get as many dot balls in as possible,” said Sehwag later.
The celebrations were spontaneous. Sourav Ganguly jumping into Man-of-the-Match Sehwag’s arms even as the last ball of the innings was left to be bowled. Once victory was sealed, the reserve players also joined in as they danced to form a human circle.
“We were down but not out. We always knew that a wicket would give us a chance since the track was turning and bouncing,” said Sourav.
He felt that he was sure that the game was won once South Africa needed to get 40 off the last four overs. “It’s been fantastic. The best part of the last 10 months have been that we have never given up. That has remained the key in these sort of close games,” the Indian skipper explained.
In hindsight, Sourav feels he should have got Sehwag to bowl early. “Veeru is not our regular bowler. I was banking on Sachin (Tendulkar) to pick wickets, and once that didn’t work, I decided to employ him.We bowled and fielded well under pressure. That did the trick for us,” the captain emphasised.
Shaun Pollock felt Herschelle Gibbs’ retiring hurt did make a difference. “He wasn’t too tired. It was just that he couldn’t grab the bat because of cramps in both his hands. We failed to keep the boundaries going in the end overs as the batsmen struggled to find the gaps,” Pollock said.
Despite reports of grumblings in team selection over Nicky Boje’s fitness prior to the game, Pollock said: “Two hundred sixty two was a big score but always gettable. We should have finished it off.
“We didn’t underestimate the opposition. It’s just that we didn’t get it right when it mattered most.”