Munaf guides India to narrow one-wicket win in 2nd ODI

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L Nandan

Johannesburg, Jan 15 (PTI) Munaf Patel led India''sstunning comeback as the visitors eked out a narrow one-runwin over South Africa in a nail-biting finish in the secondone-day international match, here today.

After being bowled out for 190, India restricted SouthAfrica to 189, thanks largely to Munaf''s four wickets thatalso included the important scalps of dangerman Hashim Amlaand Graeme Smith.

Munaf, who picked up four for 29 runs, combined withspearhead Zaheer Khan who accounted for two dismissals, toscript a historic win at the New Wanderers Stadium wherefortunes ebbed and flowed throughout the South Africaninnings.

It could have been anybody''s game till Munaf had WayneParnell caught at point by Yuvraj Singh to signal the end of adramatic match in the 43rd over.

Zaheer, too, played his part picking up the wickets ofDavid Miller and Johan Botha at crucial junctures.

Chasing 190 for a win, Smith led from the front scoring afluent 77 off 98 balls. The skipper''s knock was laced witheight hits to the fence.

But despite a dominating performance by their Smith,South Africa lost the plot after his dismissal, and the lowerorder buckled under the intense pressure created by the Indianbowlers.

The duo of Munaf and Zaheer brought India back into thematch by dismissing Smith, Miller and Botha in quicksuccession, leaving the hosts in a spot of bother.

India had nothing to lose after the hosts led by LonwaboTsotsobe''s inspired effort, bowled the visitors out for apaltry total after Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to bat first.

Munaf gave India the start they were looking for when hedismissed the dangerous Amla with a delivery that jagged backslightly from a good length, leaving the South African openerwith no choice but to inside edge one to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Smith and Colin Ingram then joined forces and shared acrucial 59-run partnership for the second wicket to put SouthAfrica in a commanding position.

Smith set the tone early by launching into a couple ofdazzling shots through the off side off Munaf.

The South African captain first drove Munaf throughmid-on and then, slashed one through the point region foranother boundary off the same bowler.

He then chose nemesis Zaheer for a boundary, pullinghim through midwicket. Smith meted out a similar treatment tofirst-change bowler Ashish Nehra, moments before whipping offa Munaf delivery through fine-leg.

His captain''s dominance had a positive impact on Ingram,who lofted Nehra over long-on for the maximum.

But, what was a golden opportunity to impress theselectors ahead of the World Cup, went begging when Ingram wastrapped in front by Harbhajan Singh. .

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