Bengaluru, July 8: It was in the Super Six stage of the 2003 World Cup played in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Sourav Ganguly's India had a bad start to the tournament but they mended things quick and kept on winning every game since their nine-wicket hammering against Australia in the group stage.
India were up against Kenya, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the Super Six stage and after having beaten Kenya by six wickets and the Lankans by 183 runs, India were up against the Kiwis who were beaten by Australia by 96 runs in their previous game.
Stephen Fleming's side was under more pressure to win the clash at Centurion because they had to win to secure four points to make it to the semis. India were through. But on the day, India did almost nothing wrong.
Ganguly won the toss and asked the Kiws to bat first and soon had them on the mat. And no, it was India's conventional weapon against non-subcontinental teams, i.e., spin which was at play.
India simply unleashed their pace attack to rock New Zealand's top order. The sensational Zaheer Khan struck in the second and third balls to get rid of Craig McMillian and Nathan Astle, respectively, and those early blows left New Zealand paralysed. From 0 for two, the Kiwis tried to crawl back into the game but kept on losing wickets at regular intervals. At 96 for seven with the top order polished off, it seemed just a formality had to be completed. The tail wagged a little yet with Jacob Oram making 23, Daniel Vettori scoring 13 and Daryl Tuffey 11.
The Black Caps were skittled out for 146 in 45.1 overs with Zaheer finishing with four for 42. His other two prized wickets were that of Brendon McCullum (4) and Chris Harris (17).
New Zealand's only out way was to get India all out for a lesser score and they started off almost with a ditto performance. Shane Bond took up the task on his shoulders and generated some serious pace. He got Virender Sehwag and knocked over the stumps of Ganguly as India were left at a precarious nine for two. Sachin Tendulkar was back soon as well and India were 21 for three. However, it was Mohammad Kaif (68 not out) and Rahul Dravid (53 not out) who ensured that the Indian innings had not gone the opponents' way and weathered the storm to take their side home. India won by seven wickets with almost 10 overs to spare. Bond took two for 23 in eight overs. Zaheer was the man of the match.