| Indian captain Sourav Ganguly returns to the pavilion after being bowled for six against Kwa Zulu Natal in Durban on Thursday. Virender Sehwag top scored with 40. (AFP)
Durban: In a disastrous result just five days ahead of their first World Cup match, India suffered a shock 32-run defeat to Kwa-Zulu Natal in their second and final warm-up game Thursday.
The ghosts of the New Zealand tour came to haunt the Indians once again as their celebrated batting line-up could muster just 158 before being shot out in 38.2 overs by a mediocre bowling attack.
The local team had earlier scored 190 for nine in their stipulated 50 overs after being put in to bat. Opener Doug Watson top-scored with 53 and Sourav took two for 16 in four overs.Skipper Sourav Ganguly’s bowling form did not reflect on his batting, as he left for just 6. And Sachin Tendulkar (9), Dinesh Mongia (0), Mohammad Kaif (2) and Sanjay Bangar (1) together could account for just 18 runs as the bulk of the scoring was done by the tailenders.
Virender Sehwag was the only batsman able to save his reputation, top-scoring with 40 runs at a run-a-ball. Ajit Agarkar (26), Harbhajan Singh (25), Parthiv Patel (15) and Anil Kumble (15) saved India some blushes, as at seven down for 88 in the 19th over, the team was in real danger of being shot out within the three-figure mark.
Ironically, it was an Indian-origin bowler, medium pacer Yadeen Singh, who wrecked the Indian innings, claiming the three prized wickets of Sourav, Sachin, and Sehwag. He returned figures of three for 38 from eight overs.India’s cause was all but lost inside the first 15 overs itself, having lost their top six batsmen for just 66 runs. Yadeen dismissed Sourav and Sachin in successive overs.
India sorely missed the stabilising influence of Rahul Dravid, who was rested for this match along with Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan.
It was the 30-run partnership for the eighth wicket between Patel and Agarkar that helped India cross the 100-run mark. Patel’s 15 came off only 13 balls with three fours while Agarkar faced 48 deliveries and struck five boundaries in his 26-run knock.
“That was a real wake-up call for the team,” said Sourav. “The pitch was a little bit up and down but, generally, we batted very poorly against some mediocre bowling.
“We just didn't apply ourselves to the task at hand and I was very disappointed by the nature of our dismissals. But we bowled pretty tightly in restricting Kwa Zulu Natal to that total.
“I hope we will learn from the mistakes and not repeat them again.
Rival captain Errol Stewart felt that the Indians took the 190-run target a little too easy. “I thought they were a bit complacent and took us for granted.”