South Africa hold their nerve to chase down India’s total despite Tendulkar ton in Cricket World Cup Group B thriller.
|Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder embrace as the Kiwis breeze out of the group stage [Reuters]|
New Zealand booked their passage from Group A in to the World Cup quarter-finals after Brendon McCullum set up a 97-run victory with a chanceless century in Mumbai.
McCullum’s well paced 101 plus a late flurry which helped the Black Caps reach 358-6 with an overall tally of 12 sixes left the Canadians with a target which proved far beyond them.
The North Americans’ captain Ashish Bagai led a brave rearguard action, however, with 84 before cramp virtually crippled him and he was caught behind off Nathan McCullum.
Jimmy Hansra also battled hard against the inevitable with a stubborn 70 not out but he too needed extensive treatment for cramp on a baking day at the Wankhede Stadium, stage for the April 2 final, and retired hurt before returning with eight wickets down.
Canada, never up with the huge run rate, eventually finished on 261-9.
“It was nice to get runs myself but we lost the game,” said Bagai.
“It was hot today, so got some cramps after keeping and batting, It got to me. We will look to go out on a high in Bangalore against Australia.”
McCullum had earlier paced his innings at no more than a steady rate and passed 4,000 career ODI runs on 95 before reaching three figures in 107 balls including 12 fours and two sixes.
He was out in the 37th over for 101, caught trying to speed up the run rate off Harvir Baidwan.
Ross Taylor, who destroyed the Pakistan attack in the Kiwis’ last match, carried on in a similarly spectacular vein, firing past his half-century by scoring 28 runs off one hugely destructive over from Baidwan including four sixes and a four.
The stand-in skipper was eventually out for 74, having shared an explosive half-century fourth-wicket partnership with Nathan McCullum (10) reached in just 21 balls. In all, Taylor hit six fours and five sixes.
Scott Styris (35), Kane Williamson (34 not out) and James Franklin (31 not out off eight balls) added late salt to Canada’s wounds on a track which offered little for either side’s seam or spin bowlers.
“The way Martin Guptill and Brendon batted gave us a good platform to reach the kind of total we did,” said Taylor, who was standing in for the injured Daniel Vettori.
“I had a bit of luck while batting. The bowlers complemented the batting well. Our strength is the lower-order hitting, and we try to set ourselves for a go.”
The revamped Mumbai venue hosted its first World Cup fixture, a dress rehearsal for the guaranteed full house for the final.
On Sunday, the 33,000 seating capacity was about a quarter full and populated mainly by intrigued locals.