English media tout India as World Cup favourites
Press Trust of India
London, September 26
India's nail-biting 10-run victory over South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy has drawn flattering praise from the English media which said the Asian giants have emerged as one of the strong favourites for the World Cup in South Africa next year.
"Over the past year, in innumerable one-day clashes, England and India have extolled each other as ever-improving sides. English defeats have been routinely explained away. India? Got to be World Cup favourites. We're doing well to compete," The Guardian wrote on Thursday.
After scoring 261 for nine, India managed to restrict South Africa, who are rated second only to World Champions Ausralia, to 251 for five to sneak into the final on Sunday.
"That comforting perception was tested to the utmost in the Champions Trophy semi-final last night as India collided with South Africa under the same Premadasa lights where they had terrorised England on Monday.
In the ultimate analysis, "somehow, the South Africans fell 10 runs short. The World Cup is on their own patch; this defeat may leave deep scars. India's reputation may yet prove deserved," it said.
The daily was all praise for Yuvraj Singh for his two exceptional catches - reaching high at backward point, to dismiss Graeme Smith and his plunging catch to account for Jonty Rhodes which was better still. Stymied by the part-time slows of Virender Sehwag on a dying pitch, South Africa found acceleration beyond them.
The Independent, another daily, noted that South Africa was sent packing by wiles of Sehwag.