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Sight Screen

Monday, November 28, 2005

India overs 11-20

South Africa threw all it had into the defense, in this phase – tight field setting, electric fielding, quality quick bowling (with Langeveldt, bowling at top pace and swinging the ball hugely in the extremely humid Mumbai night air, particularly outstanding; Nel equally impressive, varying his pace, throttling back, and focusing more on line and swing/seam than tearaway speed).
India, having raced to 74/2 at the end of 12 (in which period, they saw off both Pollock, for one wicket and a run rate of 6 an over in six overs; and Ntini, 5.80 per over and a wicket), and reduced the ask to 148 under four an over, then throttled back, visibly electing to do it the slower, but surer, accumulative way. The slowing down was visible most notably in Tendulkar, who checked his shots, and opted to let almost everything outside his off stump go.
Immediately after drinks, taken at the end of 17, Tendulkar played a regulation square drive at Andre Nel – and found a diving Ashwell Prince pulling off a blinder at point. SRT’s innings was of two clear halves – the aggressive first half, in which he hit everything off the middle, and the almost inexplicably quieter second half, in which he opted to leave more than he played. At his dismissal, the run rate was 4.88, the ask 4.21.
At the other end, on driven four off the last ball of Pollock’s sixth over had put Dravid at the top of the tree in the list of leading run-getters in ODIs this year; he celebrated in the next over with a classical off drive. Since then, he has been playing within himself, seemingly content to eschew extravagance in favor of quiet accumulation.
33 runs and the Tendulkar wicket in this phase (90/3 in 20; SA 76/2 at this stage) give this session to the South Africans; what keeps India's nose ahead though is the fact that with 30 overs to go (and Kaif, Dhoni and Pathan to follow this pair), the ask is a mere 132/3 -- South Africa's only hope is to take wickets because, with this ask, containment, which is what the Proteas are managing at this stage, won't do it.

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