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Raina century powers India to Super Eight

By The Assam Tribune

GROS ISLET (ST.LUCIA), May 2 (IANS): Riding on Suresh Raina's power packed 60-ball 101, India became the first team to move into the Super Eight stage with a convincing 14-run win over South Africa here Sunday.

Raina's maiden Twenty20 century guided the 2007 champions to a challenging 186 for five in 20 overs after they were put in to bat on a slow track by South African skipper Graeme Smith at the Beausejour Stadium after he won the toss.

Jacques Kallis gave the South Africans a great start with his 73 off 54 balls, but the middle order, barring Smith (36) and AB de Villiers (31), failed to put up a good show and the South Africans could get to 172 for five in 20 overs.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra dried up the run rate and conceded just 33 and 27 runs from their four overs respectively, while Yusuf Pathan was expensive for his two wickets for 42 runs from his full quota. Debutant leg spinner Piyush Chawla picked up one for 27 from three overs.

Earlier in the day, India made a poor start, losing in-form opener Murali Vijay to the third ball of the innings after he edged Rory Kleinveldt to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. Dinesh Karthik (16), who replaced an indisposed Gautam Gambhir, was also back in the pavilion as India were struggling at 32 for two in the sixth over.

It was the 88-run partnership between Raina and Yuvraj Singh (37) that not only helped India to recover, but also took the match away from South Africa. Raina and Yuvraj took some time to adjust to the slow nature of the track as India crawled to 67 for two in 10 overs.

In the next 10 overs, the duo displayed some power hitting and took the South African pacers to all parts of the ground as 119 runs came up in a quick time. Dale Steyn (1/24) was the only bowler who gained some respect from the Indian batsmen as he bowled a tight line and length.

Raina and Yuvraj were severe on Kleinveldt (2/28) and Morkel (1/39) and used their pace cleverly to get the boundaries.

Raina smashed nine fours and five sixes during his whirlwind knock while Yuvraj hit three fours and two sixes in his 30-ball stay. Yuvraj became Kleinveldt's second victim after he mistimed a low full toss to Smith at mid-on in the 16th over.

But the joy was shortlived for Kleinveldt as in his next over Yususf Pathan (11) and Raina spanked him for three fours and two sixes, the 18th over yielding 25 runs. In the last five overs, India got 75 runs.

Raina got to his century in style in the last over, walloping Albie Morkel for a huge six over the mid-wicket and was dismissed in the next ball after he attempted a similar shot but found De Villiers at long on.

Chasing 187, South Africa survived an early scare after Kallis was dropped by Pathan off the second ball of Harbhajan. Kallis made the best use of the life and went on to score a fine 73, featuring three sixes and three fours, and was involved in two crucial partnerships that got South Africa close to sniffing distance of a win.

With Smith, he added 97-runs for the second wicket. At a time when the partnership was going strong, a fine piece of throw by Praveen Kumar found Smith short of crease. Kallis and De Villiers (31) stitched 24-runs for the fourth wicket. But after Chawla struck to remove Kallis, the innings fell apart and they were short by 14 runs.

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Raina century powers India to Super Eight

GROS ISLET (ST.LUCIA), May 2 (IANS): Riding on Suresh Raina's power packed 60-ball 101, India became the first team to move into the Super Eight stage with a convincing 14-run win over South Africa here Sunday.

Raina's maiden Twenty20 century guided the 2007 champions to a challenging 186 for five in 20 overs after they were put in to bat on a slow track by South African skipper Graeme Smith at the Beausejour Stadium after he won the toss.

Jacques Kallis gave the South Africans a great start with his 73 off 54 balls, but the middle order, barring Smith (36) and AB de Villiers (31), failed to put up a good show and the South Africans could get to 172 for five in 20 overs.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra dried up the run rate and conceded just 33 and 27 runs from their four overs respectively, while Yusuf Pathan was expensive for his two wickets for 42 runs from his full quota. Debutant leg spinner Piyush Chawla picked up one for 27 from three overs.

Earlier in the day, India made a poor start, losing in-form opener Murali Vijay to the third ball of the innings after he edged Rory Kleinveldt to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. Dinesh Karthik (16), who replaced an indisposed Gautam Gambhir, was also back in the pavilion as India were struggling at 32 for two in the sixth over.

It was the 88-run partnership between Raina and Yuvraj Singh (37) that not only helped India to recover, but also took the match away from South Africa. Raina and Yuvraj took some time to adjust to the slow nature of the track as India crawled to 67 for two in 10 overs.

In the next 10 overs, the duo displayed some power hitting and took the South African pacers to all parts of the ground as 119 runs came up in a quick time. Dale Steyn (1/24) was the only bowler who gained some respect from the Indian batsmen as he bowled a tight line and length.

Raina and Yuvraj were severe on Kleinveldt (2/28) and Morkel (1/39) and used their pace cleverly to get the boundaries.

Raina smashed nine fours and five sixes during his whirlwind knock while Yuvraj hit three fours and two sixes in his 30-ball stay. Yuvraj became Kleinveldt's second victim after he mistimed a low full toss to Smith at mid-on in the 16th over.

But the joy was shortlived for Kleinveldt as in his next over Yususf Pathan (11) and Raina spanked him for three fours and two sixes, the 18th over yielding 25 runs. In the last five overs, India got 75 runs.

Raina got to his century in style in the last over, walloping Albie Morkel for a huge six over the mid-wicket and was dismissed in the next ball after he attempted a similar shot but found De Villiers at long on.

Chasing 187, South Africa survived an early scare after Kallis was dropped by Pathan off the second ball of Harbhajan. Kallis made the best use of the life and went on to score a fine 73, featuring three sixes and three fours, and was involved in two crucial partnerships that got South Africa close to sniffing distance of a win.

With Smith, he added 97-runs for the second wicket. At a time when the partnership was going strong, a fine piece of throw by Praveen Kumar found Smith short of crease. Kallis and De Villiers (31) stitched 24-runs for the fourth wicket. But after Chawla struck to remove Kallis, the innings fell apart and they were short by 14 runs.