Ramdin efforts fall short

India qualified for the final of the IndianOil Cup in Colombo as they edged past a determined West Indian outfit, inspired by Runako Morton and young wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, despite missing skipper Shivnarine Chanderpaul – Sylvester Joseph deputising.

A hostile opening burst from Daren Powell and Deighton Butler sent Saurav Ganguly into the treatment room and Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman back into the dressign room. When Omari Banks broke through Indian skipper Rahul Dravid’s defences to reduce his side to 51-3, effectively four, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif were charged with saving national face – and their place in the final.

Save it they did, as a 165-run liaison, before Yuvraj fell for a magnificent 110 at almost a run a ball, established a platform firm enough for Mahendra Dhoni to bludgeon 28 from 13 balls at the death – whilst Kaif remained unbeaten for a more industrious 83, including just six fours.

The West Indian target of 262 became a stiffer ask as Irfan Pathan and Ashish Nehra combined to remove Joseph, Xavier Marshall and Narsingh Deonarine – then stiffer still as the experienced Anil Kumble accounted for Banks, Dwayne Smith and Ricardo Powell and reduced the West Indians to 112-6.

Yet with the required run rate remaining solidly around five an over, an extended partnership would always be likely to provoke further nerve-jangling in the Indian dressing room – and as 20-year-old Denesh Ramdin joined Runako Morton, Windies spirits continued to rise.

With 67 balls remaining, 68 were needed – but Morton fell to Nehra and neither Tino Best, Butler or Powell could provide enough fireworks to sufficiently support Ramdin, who ended unbeaten on 74 as the West Indies fell eight short, but return home with pride – whilst India proceed to the final against Sri Lanka with much work to do to upset the hosts and win the IndianOil Cup.

India 262-4
Yuvraj Singh 110, Mohammad Kaif 83*
Deighton Butler 1-30, Daren Powell 1-35

West Indies 255-9
Runako Morton 84, Denesh Ramdin 74*
Anil Kumble 3-38, Irfan Pathan 2-34

India won by 7 runs

CricketWeb Player of the Match
Yuvraj Singh (India) – 110 (114b, 11×4, 1×6)

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