Fernando fires Asia to series-clinching win
by AFP

Ground:MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai
Scorecard:Asian Cricket Council XI v African XI
Player:V Sehwag, SC Ganguly, Mohammad Yousuf, CRD Fernando
Event:Afro-Asia Cup 2007

DateLine: 9th June 2007


Fast bowler Dilhara Fernando grabbed four wickets as Asia clinched the Afro-Asia cricket series with a 31-run win over Africa in the second one-day international here on Saturday.


Asia restricted their rivals to 306 under lights after posting a challenging 337-7 to gain an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The final game will be played here on Sunday.


Sri Lankan Fernando finished with 4-36 off 10 overs, his best in 115 one-day internationals.


Africa, who lost the opening match by 34 runs on Wednesday, were well-served by Mark Boucher (73) and Boeta Dippenaar (67) before Fernando swung the match in his team's favour by striking at the right time.


Fernando broke a 60-run stand for the second wicket between Dippenaar and Vusi Sibanda (35) in his opening spell and then removed Boucher just when the South African wicket-keeper had been putting pressure on Asia.


The Sri Lankan had Zimbabwean Sibanda caught by wicket-keeper Mahendra Dhoni and then bowled skipper Justin Kemp in the same over. In his second spell, he dismissed the well-set Boucher to dash Africa's hopes of levelling the series.


South Africans Boucher and Dippenaar sustained their team's chances with impressive knocks as they batted confidently against both pace and spin on an easy-paced track. The pair added 79 for the fourth wicket.


Boucher hit two sixes and four boundaries in his 71-ball knock and Dippenaar nine fours in his 72-ball innings.


The match was virtually over with the dismissal of Shaun Pollock (35), who had hammered an explosive century in the previous game.


It was a batting feast in hot and humid conditions as Asia earlier rode on half-centuries from Indians Sourav Ganguly (88) and Virender Sehwag (52), and Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf (51) to set a stiff target.


They were not the only batsmen among the runs as skipper Mahela Jayawardene (45), Dhoni (33) and Yuvraj Singh (30 not out) made important contributions after their team had elected to bat.


Jayawardene also became the fifth Sri Lankan to complete 7,000 runs in one-day internationals during his 40-ball innings after Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Marvan Atapattu and Arjuna Ranatunga.


Yousuf hit two sixes and three fours in his second successive half-century, having top-scored with 66 in the previous match.


Sehwag set the pace when he hammered Albie Morkel for three fours in the opening over. He fell immediately after completing his half-century with a six off Elton Chigumbura. He hit a six and eight fours in his 38-ball knock.


Ganguly, who struck a six and nine fours in his watchful 112-ball knock, put on 80 for the fourth wicket with Jayawardene and 84 for the next with Yousuf before falling in the closing overs.


South African seamer Morne Morkel took two wickets and his brother Albie one. Other wicket-takers were Zimbabwean Chigumbura (2-84) and Kenyan Thomas Odoyo (1-60).

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)


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