Zaheer dismissed Craig McMillan to the second ball of the innings. Zaheer struck again with the next ball, when he trapped Nathan Astle plumb in front as the New Zealand innings were zero for two even as spectators were settling down in their seats © Getty Images
Zaheer dismissed Craig McMillan to the second ball of the innings. Zaheer struck again with the next ball, when he trapped Nathan Astle plumb in front as the New Zealand innings were zero for two even as spectators were settling down in their seats © Getty Images

 

By CricketCountry Staff

 

India vs New Zealand, ICC World Cup, Centurion, 14th March 2003

 

India won by 7 wickets

 

Team India was on a high – six wins on the trot – when they took on New Zealand in their final Super Six tie at Centurion in the 2003 World Cup.

 

Sourav Ganguly decided to put the opposition in at SuperSport Park, a move which was vindicated by pace spearhead Zaheer Khan’s opening spell. The left-arm seamer got on top of the New Zealand top-order and ensured India maintained a vice-like grip over them.

 

Zaheer dismissed Craig McMillan to the second ball of the innings. Zaheer struck again with the next ball, when he trapped Nathan Astle plumb in front as the New Zealand innings were zero for two even as spectators were settling down in their seats.

 

New Zealand had to win this game or at least bank on Zimbabwe scripting an unlikely win against Sri Lanka to keep their semi-final hopes alive.

But it appeared as though there was only one team that was hungry to win on that day and that was not New Zealand. Only captain Stephen Fleming showed some application against the incisive Indian bowlers.

 

Brendon McCullum was promoted ahead of Chris Cairns to shield the latter from the Indian opening ball operators, but the move boomeranged as McCullum became Zaheer’s third victim – the bowler’s 100th ODI scalp.

 

Zaheer’s early burst allowed the other Indian bowlers to assert their dominance over the New Zealand batsmen. Zaheer dealt another important blow when the bowler had Chris Harris leg-before wicket which pummelled New Zealand to 96 for 7 in the 29th over.

 

The Kiwi tail wagged to some extent courtesy – Jacob Oram and Daniel Vettori. The final score of 146 was never going to challenge an in-form India.

 

Shane Bond’s twin strikes upfront ignited some hope, but Mohammed Kaif and Rahul Dravid kept India’s winning run intact.

 

The modest Indian chase was largely due to Zaheer’s 4 for 42 which deservedly won him the Man-of-the-Match Award.