The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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We fell 20 runs short: Sourav
- Bond pips Kaif to MoS award

Harare: Team India captain Sourav Ganguly pointed the obvious flaws in India’s one more defeat in the finals but was stumped for an answer why his team always falls short in the clincher of a game.

“We must be lacking something to lose finals even when seemingly in a good position,” remarked Sourav after India slid from the driver’s seat to hand New Zealand the tri-series on a platter by six wickets. “We had a good start but probably fell 20 runs short,” Sourav said after another loss in a tournament final.

“It is heart-breaking. We have been in such situations in the past but haven’t been able to finish it off. Once again we didn’t look good enough to win the finals.

“Everytime we lose a final, it will become more and more difficult for us to come good in another finals.”

India were 155 for one in the 25th over before the batsmen lost their plot and while bowling, produced their worst display yet of the series.

“After being 150 for one, we could add only 120 odd from the final 25 overs. And when we bowled, they were 90 for no loss in the first 10 overs. That’s where we lost the game.”

Sourav was critical of the middle order and said if any of the middle batsmen had made a half-century the team would have gone past the 300-run mark.

“Kaif batted very well but he didn’t get support from the other end. If somebody had stayed with him at the other end, we would have been 300-plus.”

The dropped catches also did not help the team’s cause, Sourav said, adding “we need to take those chances to win such pressure games.”

Sourav was similarly scathing of his bowlers and said if the conditions don’t support them, they seem to struggle to make an impression. “Just as we have to learn how to bat on seaming wickets, we also have to learn how to bowl on wickets which are flat.

“Since our medium-pacer bowlers don’t have the pace of a Bond, Shoaib (Akhtar) or (Brett) Lee, they depend on little assistance from conditions to do well.

“Our bowlers didn’t bowl good line and length and generally bowled both side of the wicket.”

Sourav refused to believe that his decision to bat first was a bad decision given the position in which his side was at one stage.

“I chose to bat first because we don’t have very good record of chasing in the finals even though we had won two previous games in this tournament while chasing a target.

“The decision can’t be faulted as we were in a commanding position at one stage.”

Sourav was also disappointed with his dismissal and said he was trying to run the ball to third man when he found the ball bounce a littler extra and the steer went straight to gully.

New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming said he took heart from India’s chase of a similar total against them in a league game earlier in the series. “We wanted to put pressure on the fast bowlers so that it becomes easier for the rest to follow.”

New Zealand paceman Shane Bond was named Man of the Series, edging out India’s Mohammed Kaif which was his second straight honour in his comeback to international cricket after being adjudged similarly in the Test series against Zimbabwe last month.

Bond reiterated that he has become a smarter cricketer and prefers to bowl now with common sense than just blind fury. “I want to be similarly effective without facing the threat of injury.”

Man of the Match Nathan Astle said he struggled against the spinners a bit in the 70s before pulling himself through.

“I struggled against Yuvraj in the 70s but knew if I could bat till the end the trophy would be ours.” (AGENCIES)

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