Specials – ODI cricket in Singapore, Part 2

  The second triangular ODI tournament in Singapore took place three and a half years after the first, at a new venue. The Kallang Ground played host to India, the West Indies and Zimbabwe in the Coca-Cola Singapore Challenge from September 2-8, 1999, and like the Padang, it was characterised by short boundaries, which contributed towards a total of 51 sixes in the four completed matches.  

West Indies v Zimbabwe

  The West Indian pace attack reduced Zimbabwe to 38/3 after Alistair Campbell elected to bat. Andy Flower (89) joined Campbell (80) at the fall of the third wicket, and the duo repaired the innings with an assertive stand of 114 at more than six an over. Flower also put on 71 for the sixth wicket with Stuart Carlisle. However, Reon King (3/37) and Hendy Bryan (3/36) ensured that the total was limited to 244/9. 

  The chase got off to a blazing start for the West Indies, as openers Sherwin Campbell (63) and Ridley Jacobs (47) racked up 114 in 18 overs before the latter was run out. Grant Flower soon removed Campbell and Jimmy Adams to leave the score at 120/3, but captain Brian Lara (48) and Ricardo Powell (51*), in his second ODI, took over thereafter, steering their team to a six-wicket win with 38 balls to spare. 

Australia v West.jpg

        West Indian hard-hitter Ricardo Powell logged 221 runs at the 1999 Singapore Challenge, including a 93-ball 124 in the final (source – Robert Cianflone / AllSport)

India v Zimbabwe

  Zimbabwe were knocked out as a result of a big defeat to India in a game reduced to 30-overs-a-side due to overnight rain. Captain Sachin Tendulkar, undeterred by the loss of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid,  unleashed his strokeplay after India were put in to bat. With the score at 60/2, Tendulkar was joined by Ajay Jadeja in the middle. The two batsmen raced to a third-wicket stand worth 143 in just 17 overs.

  The partnership was broken when Tendulkar fell for a 72-ball 85. Nine runs later, a pulled muscle forced Jadeja to retire hurt for a 61-ball 88. The total swelled to 245/6 from 30 overs, and to add to Zimbabwe’s woes, a slow over-rate cost them an over. Medium pacer Debasis Mohanty (3/28) sent a deflated Zimbabwe crashing to 19/4, and it was only because of Andy Flower (63*) that the total was dragged to 130/8.

India v West Indies

  With both teams through to the final, the last league match was akin to a dress rehearsal. Once again, rain reduced the contest to a 30-over affair. The West Indies lost Jacobs to Mohanty (3/52) off the first ball, and by the ninth over, had slumped to 49/4. Powell (46) and Lara (60 in 43 balls) came to the rescue, adding 61 in 51 balls after coming together at 85/5. Their efforts propelled the total to a healthy 196/7. 

  Sadagoppan Ramesh, replacing the rested Tendulkar, was out for nought with only five runs on the board. Stand-in captain Ganguly (32) and Dravid (39) put on 77 for the second wicket, but they were always behind the required rate. India lost steam after their dismissals, and finished at 154/8. Interestingly, Ramesh and West Indian debutant Wavell Hinds both took a wicket off their respective first balls in ODIs. 

The Final

  The scheduled final on September 7 was cut short by rain, with India struggling at  149/6, having lost five wickets – three of them to King (3/25) – for 47 after Walsh sent Tendulkar (40) back. A fresh start took place the next day, and Lara did not hesitate in opting to field first. Walsh accounted for Tendulkar again, this time for a duck in the first over. Nine overs later, King dismissed Ramesh to make the score 27/2.

  Dravid, who also kept wickets for India, and Ganguly (46) shared in an anchoring third-wicket stand of 78 before off-spinner Nehemiah Perry (3/65) got rid of the latter and Vinod Kambli in successive overs. Dravid held the fort at one end, and found strong support from Nikhil Chopra (61 in 60 balls), with whom he put on 102 for the fifth wicket at better than a run a ball to give India a much-needed boost.

  Dravid reached his sixth ODI hundred, and finished with 103* from 124 balls, out of a total of 254/6. Mohanty provided India with a bright start by taking the wickets of both openers, and when Chopra’s off-spin consumed Lara and Adams within the space of seven runs, the West Indies had slid to 67/4 in the 17th over. Powell walked in at this stage, and steadied the ship by adding 61 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul. 

  Chanderpaul was fifth out at 128 in the 27th over, but Powell, aged 20, was in his element. He single-handedly snatched the game from India with a 72-ball century, and dominated a sixth-wicket stand of 118 with Perry (38*) before perishing to Mohanty (3/33) in the 46th over for a bludgeoning 124 from 93 balls, lit with nine fours and eight sixes. The West Indies duly won by four wickets with 16 balls left.

Player of the Tournament: Ricardo Powell (221 runs at an average of 110.50 and a strike rate of 127.74)

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