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Wednesday, Nov 30, 2005
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Mumbai: The chance for making history appeared and disappeared in a flash.
The young Johan Botha glared at his hands in anger. Rahul Dravid looked into the night sky in relief. This was the decisive moment of the series.
The Indian captain was on 32, and South Africa very much in the hunt when the off-spinner dropped the return catch. The visitors had also floored the opportunity to register their maiden ODI series triumph in India.
This was no ordinary miss. India required Dravid, with all his technical excellence, to stay till the very end. He did just that and once again the side that won the toss carried the night.
When the dust settled on a furiously fought match, Man of the Match Dravid remained unbeaten on a 78 (106b, 10x4), an effort that oozed character and resolve. Mohammed Kaif was on 16 when the winning runs arrived in the 48th over. Team India was home by five wickets in a game that twisted and turned.
The Pepsi ODI series has been drawn 2-2. It is a creditable performance by India against the second ranked team in world cricket that entered the country with a 19-match unbeaten record. Yuvraj Singh and Graeme Smith shared the Man of the Series award.
Mkhaya Ntini sent down a blistering first spell. He snared Gautam Gambhir with a vicious short-pitched delivery, which the left-hander, playing across, ballooned into the slip cordon.
Virender Sehwag, surfacing one drop, played some tremendous strokes on the rise before being dismissed to a debatable leg-before decision to Pollock. Sachin Tendulkar, back in the opening slot, was just getting into his stride when he was fell to an astonishing catch at point by Ashwell Prince. Despite not consolidating, Sehwag took on Pollock, and this was psychological victory in itself for India. Dravid and Yuvraj managed the chase judiciously. Dravid is also the highest run-getter for the year in ODIs.
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