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Best of the ODIs at Chepauk

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Chepauk_Chennai_India_Cricket_Ground_ODIThe West Indies kicked off their three-match ODI series in India with an impressive eight-wicket win at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, more commonly known as Chepauk, on December 15. This was not the first time that Chepauk saw an exhilarating contest – one of the oldest grounds in India, it made its ODI debut at the 1987 World Cup, and a good number of the 22 ODIs it has hosted have been highly eventful. Here is a rewind to six notable Chepauk ODIs.

Australia v India, World Cup Group Stage, 1987-88

Defending champions and co-hosts India squared up against Australia in their opening fixture of the 1987 World Cup, which was also the first ODI to be played at Chepauk. After Kapil Dev elected to field, David Boon (49) and Geoff Marsh put on 110 for the opening wicket. Marsh added a further 64 for the second wicket with Dean Jones, and went on to score a determined 110 from 141 balls. His innings helped Australia to a strong total of 270/6 after the allotted 50 overs.

India also made a good start, with openers Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth adding 69. Srikkanth (70) and Navjot Sidhu (73) then put on 62 for the second wicket. Sidhu was in good form, and added a further 76 with Dilip Vengsarkar for the third wicket. At 207/2 in the 39th over, the match was India’s to lose. However, Sidhu’s dismissal to Craig McDermott (4/56) led to a procession of wickets. Yet, with four overs to go, India needed 15 with four wickets in hand.

But three more wickets, including two run-outs, added to the drama, and India began the last over needing six with one wicket left. Last man Maninder Singh faced Steve Waugh, and managed four off four balls. But off the fifth ball, Waugh castled him to seal a one-run win for Australia. Ultimately, Kapil’s generosity was a factor – a six from Jones was signalled as four, but in the innings break, Kapil concurred with the Australians that the said shot was in fact a six.

Australia v New Zealand, World Cup Quarterfinal, 1995-96

Australia triumphed over their trans-Tasman rivals to reach the semifinals of the 1996 World Cup, in what was an entertaining day-night contest on a pitch conducive to the batsmen. New Zealand captain Lee Germon elected to bat, and saw his side slip to 44/3 against some disciplined bowling from the Australian pacers. The recalled Chris Harris came out to join Germon at this stage, and the two combined for a rapid 168-run alliance at more than six an over.

Germon fell for 89 from 96 balls, but Harris continued his charge until the penultimate over before getting out to leg-spinner Shane Warne for a career-best 130 from 124 balls, including 13 fours and four sixes. Faced with a challenging total of 286/9 to chase down, Australia lost their captain Mark Taylor early to off-spinner Dipak Patel. But Mark Waugh was looking in ominous touch, having already hit two centuries in the tournament, against Kenya and India respectively.

The game seemed even at 127/3 in the 25th over, but a fourth-wicket stand of 86 between Mark and his twin brother Steve Waugh swung the momentum towards Australia. With Australia needing 74 in 71 balls, Mark Waugh fell for 110 (from 112 balls, with six fours and two sixes). However, Steve Waugh (59* from 68 balls) and Stuart Law (42* from 30) ensured that there was no further loss, as they added 76* to steer Australia to a six-wicket win with 13 balls remaining.

India v Pakistan, Sixth ODI, Independence Cup, 1996-97

This was the sixth match of the Pepsi Independence Cup, a four-nation tournament (also involving New Zealand and Sri Lanka) held to mark 50 years of India’s independence, and was memorable for a new ODI record for the highest individual score. The winner would decide Sri Lanka’s opponents in the best-of-three finals, and it was the southpaw opener Saeed Anwar who led Pakistan’s charge to silence the home spectators after Ramiz Raja called correctly at the toss.

Anwar smashed 194 in 146 balls, studded with 22 fours and five sixes, to surpass West Indian Viv Richards’ 189* made against England at Old Trafford in 1984. This effort lifted Pakistan to an imposing 327/5, in reply to which India were dismissed for 292 in the final over. Aaqib Javed took 5/61, even as Rahul Dravid (107) scored his first ODI ton. Anwar’s record was equalled by Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry in 2009, and overhauled by India’s Sachin Tendulkar in 2009-10.

Asia XI v Africa XI, Third ODI, Afro-Asia Cup, 2007

Holding an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Asia XI were reduced to 72/5 in the 17th over by the African pace trio of Morne Morkel (3/50), Peter Ongondo (3/35) and Elton Chigumbura. Wicketkeeper MS Dhoni joined captain Mahela Jayawardene at this point, and the duo scripted a record feat. Jayawardene scored 107 in 106 balls, while Dhoni blazed 139* in just 97 balls, as they put on 218 – a new sixth-wicket record in ODIs – to take the final total to 331/8.

The African chase began promisingly, with openers AB de Villiers (63) and Vusi Sibanda (45) adding 117. The score thereafter nosedived to 159/5 in the face of left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique (4/65) and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (3/48), before captain Justin Kemp (86) and Shaun Pollock (58*) kept their team in the hunt with a stand of 122 for the sixth wicket. But a requirement of 59 off five overs proved a bit too much, and the innings came to a close at 318/7.

England v South Africa, World Cup Group Stage, 2010-11

England staged a stirring comeback to win a low-scorer, in what was their fourth match of the 2011 World Cup. They were subjected to a torrid start by left-arm spinner Robin Petersen (3/22), who scalped captain Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell to leave the score at 15/3 in the fifth over. Jonathan Trott (52) and Ravi Bopara (60) added an important 99 for the fourth wicket, but leg-spinner Imran Tahir (4/38) saw to it that England went from 114/3 to 171 all out.

Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith put on 63 for the first wicket, but three wickets in five overs, two of them (those of Amla and Jacques Kallis) to Stuart Broad, led the score to fall to 82/3. Yet, at 124/3 in the 32nd over, South Africa were on course. What followed was a stunning collapse that turned the game on its head, as four wickets fell for just three runs. England ultimately held their nerve for a six-run win in the 48th over, with Broad (4/15) collecting the final two wickets.

England v West Indies, World Cup Group Stage, 2010-11

This was a must-win game for England if they were to progress to the quarterfinals. The pace of Andre Russell (4/49) and leg-spin of Devendra Bishoo (3/34) did not allow the batsmen to build a substantial partnership after Strauss opted to bat – the highest stand was 42 for the third wicket between Trott (47) and Bell – and the innings terminated at 243 in the 49th over. In response, a charged-up Chris Gayle raced to 43 off just 21 balls in an opening stand of 58 with Devon Smith.

Off-spinner James Tredwell (4/49) removed Gayle, and soon also got rid of Smith and Darren Bravo to leave the score at 91/3. The Windies further slid to 150/6, before Ramnaresh Sarwan and Russell (49) revived them by adding 72 for the seventh wicket. Tredwell again struck at a key stage by sending Russell back, while his fellow off-spinner Graeme Swann (3/36) accounted for Sarwan. The tide had turned, and the West Indies were duly bowled out for 225 in 44.4 overs.



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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