India to clash with SL in final

India have entered the final of Indian Oil Cup tri-series by defeating West Indies by seven runs in the sixth and final league match at Colombo today.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:54 IST
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India have entered the final of Indian Oil Cup tri-series by defeating West Indies by seven runs in the sixth and final league match at Colombo today. With this win India will now clash with Sri Lanka in the final to be played on Tuesday. The Caribbeans needed 12 runs from the last over to continue their giant-killing act but Ashish Nehra ensured that India secured a place in Tuesday's final by giving away just four runs. Riding on a brilliant 110 by Yuvraj Singh and some splendid bowling by medium pacers, India restricted West Indies to 255 for nine in the allotted 50 overs. The Indians seemed to be cruising along comfortably at one stage having reduced West Indies to 112 for six. But Runako Morton (84) and Denesh Ramdin staged a remarkable recovery with an 83-run partnership. West Indies began the chase brightly enough but once Irfan Pathan struck twice in his opening spell, removing Xavier Marshall (19) and stand-in captain Sylvester Joseph (4), they began to lose way. While Marshall was trapped leg before wicket off a Pathan in-swinger for 19 runs, Joseph returned to the pavilion after he was caught by Harbhajan Singh for a paltry four. Kumble shines Ashish Nehra picked up his first wicket of the match when he had Narsingh Deonariane caught by Anil Kumble for six. Omari Banks too couldn't stay at the crease for long, trapped leg before wicket off Kumble's bowling. Kumble struck again when he had Dwayne Smith trapped leg before wicket for 26. His knock included two fours and two sixes. Ricardo Powell was Kumble's third victim when he was caught by substitute Venugopal Rao for four. Morton, Ramdin wage lone battle Morton waged a lone battle bringing up his half century with a straight drive off Kumble, and had raised visions of an upset win when Ashish Nehra had him caught at midwicket for 84. His 105-ball knock included six fours. While Virender Sehwag picked up the wicket of Tino Best, Deighton Butler was run out after a brilliant direct throw by Mohammad Kaif. Wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin was another one who kept the West Indies reply going till the final overs even as the run-rate was climbing all the while. Ramdin remained unbeaten on 74 while Darren Powell was not out on five. Magnificent ton Earlier, propelled by a magnificent ton by Yuvraj Singh, India scored a competitive 262 for four. The Punjab batsman stroked an aggressive 110 in energy sapping conditions that saw India wriggle out of an embarrassing situation and reach 262 for four at the Premadasa Stadium. His 114-ball knock consisted of 11 fours and a six. He was finally caught by Tino Best off Narsingh Deonariane's bowling for 110. This was Yuvraj's third one-day international century. Vital partnership Yuvraj, who missed the earlier two matches with a viral fever, played with cramps in left leg along with Mohammad Kaif. The duo put on 165 runs for the fourth wicket, pulling the team out of a precarious 51 for three. Kaif too played a responsible innings, scoring an important 83 off 103 balls. A cameo knock by wicketkeeper M S Dhoni ensured that India cross the psychological mark of 250. His unbeaten 28 off 13 balls included 2 sixes and 1 four. It was the highest total of the tournament so far and pointed to India's determination of winning the match comprehensively and enter the final to be played on Tuesday. Rahul Dravid's men are in a must-win situation after the second string Windies side pulled off a 33-run upset win over hosts Sri Lanka, who have already qualified for the final, at the same venue yesterday. Major blow India had got off to a disastrous start after winning the toss and electing to bat first. The Indians received a major blow in the fourth over when Sourav Ganguly, who opened with Virender Sehwag, retired hurt for two. He was struck on the forearm by a delivery from the West Indies pace bowler Darren Powell. Even though the left hander who recently crossed 10,000 runs in one day international cricket did not bat again, his injury is reportedly not that serious. Ricardo Powell struck in the eighth over when he had V V S Laxman caught behind by Ramdin for seven. He was followed to the pavilion by Sehwag, who was trapped lag before wicket by Deighton Butler for six in the next over. Next to return to the pavilion was skipper Rahul Dravid with just ten runs, after he was bowled by Omari Banks. Two changes India made two changes to the team with Harbhajan Singh making way for veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble, while Suresh Raina has been replaced by Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj recovered from the fever that caused him to miss the last match. West Indies played without skipper Shivnaraine Chanderpaul. Sylvester Joseph led the Caribbean side in Chanderpaul's absence. Teams:India: Rahul Dravid (Captain), Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, V V S Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, M S Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan. West Indies: Sylvester Joseph (captain), Xavier Marshall, Runako Morton, Denesh Ramdin, Narsingh Deonariane, Dwayne Smith, Ricardo Powell, Daren Powell, Tino Best, Deighton Butler, Omari Banks. (With PTI inputs)