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16-Jan-2011 02:44:00 GMT
South Africa v India, 2nd ODI, Johannesburg

Munaf Patel Seal Thriller Win For India

Johannesburg: Munaf Patel led India's stunning comeback as the visitors eked out a narrow one-run win over South Africa in a nail-biting finish in the second one-day international match, here on Saturday.

After being bowled out for 190, India restricted South Africa to 189, thanks largely to Munaf's four wickets that also included the important scalps of dangerman Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith.

Munaf, who picked up four for 29 runs, combined with spearhead Zaheer Khan who accounted for two dismissals, to script a historic win at the New Wanderers Stadium where fortunes ebbed and flowed throughout the South African innings.

It could have been anybody's game till Munaf had Wayne Parnell caught at point by Yuvraj Singh to signal the end of a dramatic match in the 43rd over.

Zaheer, too, played his part picking up the wickets of David Miller and Johan Botha at crucial junctures.

Chasing 190 for a win, Smith led from the front scoring a fluent 77 off 98 balls. The skipper's knock was laced with eight hits to the fence.

But despite a dominating performance by their Smith, South Africa lost the plot after his dismissal, and the lower order buckled under the intense pressure created by the Indian bowlers.

The duo of Munaf and Zaheer brought India back into the match by dismissing Smith, Miller and Botha in quick succession, leaving the hosts in a spot of bother.

India had nothing to lose after the hosts led by Lonwabo Tsotsobe's inspired effort, bowled the visitors out for a paltry total after Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to bat first.

Munaf gave India the start they were looking for when he dismissed the dangerous Amla with a delivery that jagged back slightly from a good length, leaving the South African opener with no choice but to inside edge one to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Smith and Colin Ingram then joined forces and shared a crucial 59-run partnership for the second wicket to put South Africa in a commanding position.

Smith set the tone early by launching into a couple of dazzling shots through the off side off Munaf.

The South African captain first drove Munaf through mid-on and then, slashed one through the point region for another boundary off the same bowler.

He then chose nemesis Zaheer for a boundary, pulling him through midwicket. Smith meted out a similar treatment to first-change bowler Ashish Nehra, moments before whipping off a Munaf delivery through fine-leg.

His captain's dominance had a positive impact on Ingram, who lofted Nehra over long-on for the maximum.

But, what was a golden opportunity to impress the selectors ahead of the World Cup, went begging when Ingram was trapped in front by Harbhajan Singh.

Three wickets in the form of Ingram, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy made it more difficult for the hosts, but South Africa were dealt their biggest blow when Munaf castled Smith in the 33rd over leaving the visitors at 152 for five.

Munaf and Zaheer soon made it 163 for seven. And if those blows were not enough, Dale Steyn ran himself out with South Africa just 14 runs away from victory. Morne Morkel offered a lolly to substitute Yusuf Pathan off Munaf, before the unassuming seamer drove the final nail in South Africa's coffin.

After scoring 55 runs in the first powerplay and 22 in the second for a wicket each, South Africa could manage just 22 runs for the loss of three wickets in the final powerplay, indicating the fightback made by the Indian bowlers.

Dhoni's ploy to use part-time bowlers like Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina at regular intervals also paid dividends as the former accounted for the wicket of the in-form Duminy.

Earlier, lack of discipline by India's batsmen coupled with a fine spell of fast bowling by Tsotsobe helped the hosts bowl the visitors out for a paltry total.

Tsotsobe finished with impressive figures of four for 22, while Steyn and Morne Morkel took two wickets each as India lost their last seven wickets for just 40 runs.

India lost four wickets for 14 runs in the third powerplay, after managing 54 in the first two.

The left-arm pacer worked his magic after Yuvraj Singh (53 off 68 balls) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (38 off 61) revived India's innings with a 83-run fourth-wicket stand.

Tsotsobe took the wickets of Murali Vijay, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Suresh Raina.

Batting first after winning the toss, India lost Vijay with just 21 runs on the board. Tendulkar and Virat Kohli then steadied the innings, but a flourishing 42-run stand was broken when the Delhi boy was run out by Miller's direct hit.

Tendulkar, who today equalled Sanath Jaysuriya's record as the most capped player (444 ODIs) in this format of the game, played a few aggressive shots before being stunned by a Botha turner.

After spending some time in the middle, Yuvraj got into groove with paddle-sweep four off Duminy.

He then guided Morkel over backward point for another boundary. Yuvraj brought his half century in style when glanced Tsotsobe for a four.

In the next ball, Tsotsobe pitched one up luring Yuvraj to go for the drive. The left-hander went for it, but only managed to find Steyn at mid-off.

Brief scores
190 (Yuvraj 53, Dhoni 38, Tsotsobe 4-22)
South Africa 189 (Smith 77, Munaf 4-29)
Result India won by one run
MOM Munaf Patel (India)

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