Cricket: Inspirational India: Azharuddin beats poor form in Hero Cup

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India 195; South Africa 193 for 9

India win by two runs

ONE-DAY cricket reserved its most dramatic and exciting mixture for the inauguration of the giant floodlights here at Eden Gardens. In the first semi-final of the tournament to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Cricket Association of Bengal, India beat South Africa yesterday by two runs off the last ball of the match in front of almost 100,000 people.

India won the toss and batted, and thanks to a fine innings of 90 by their hitherto out-of-sorts captain, Mohammed Azharuddin, reached 195 all out in their 50 overs. A South African victory never looked likely until near the end when they needed 13 from the last two overs, but they lost two more wickets and finished at 193 for 9 after requiring three from the last ball.

It was an extraordinary hotch- potch of a match which contained plenty of good cricket and an equal amount that was bad. Although it was all exciting, in the final analysis South Africa should have won and will probably complain that they were done out of it because, early in their innings, Anil Kumble, in fielding a stroke from Andrew Hudson, touched the boundary rope but the four was never given and two were run.

It was a game too, of run-outs, four of which demanded the attention of the third umpire. In the sixth over Daryl Cullinan, fit again after a virus, ran out Vinod Kambli and Manoj Prabakhar with direct hits. In Saturday's final India will play the winners of today's semi-final between Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

HERO CUP Semi-final (Calcutta): India 195 (50 overs; M A Azharuddin 90, P K Amre 48, P S De Villiers 3-19, R P Snell 3-33); South Africa 193-9 (50 overs; A C Hudson 62, B M McMillan 48). India won by two runs.