With a four-wicket win over West Indies at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground in Perth, India strengthened their position at the top of the Group B table in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav generated a lot of pace while the West Indies batsmen added to the agony by playing some poor shots and getting bundled out for 182. The three-pronged pace attack used the bounce to their advantage and complemented by the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, they had the opposition tottering on 85 for 7 in the 25th over. However, Jason Holder (57 off 64) put up some resistance to give his side something to bowl at. Chasing 183, India lost wickets at regular intervals, but coming in to bat at 78 for 4, MS Dhoni (45*) patiently overhauled the target.
Earlier, after WI opted to bat Shami and Yadav, complemented by good fielding had the West Indies tottering on 35 for 4 inside of 10 overs to seize the momentum.
Back in the attack, replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the team, Shami forced an edge from Dwayne Smith through to the wicketkeeper to give India their first breakthrough. Couple of overs later, a brilliant piece of fielding by Mohit Sharma enabled Virat Kohli to run out Marlon Samuels as both batsmen were stranded at the same end.
After Chris Gayle had sent back his partner he changed gears. He slammed Yadav for a four and a six as he looked to up the ante. However, his attack didn’t last long. After hitting Shami over the mid-on area for four, Gayle perished pulling the bowler to Mohit at deep square-leg. On the first ball of the next over, Yadav rattled Denesh Ramadin’s stumps with a pitched up delivery that took the inside edge of the bat and dislodged the bail.
Lendl Simmons joined Jonathan Carter in the middle in an effort to salvage the crumbling innings. However, their painstaking efforts were halted by Mohit nine overs and 32 runs later. The short-ball was once again a WI batsman’s undoing. Picking the ball from outside the off-stump, Simmons top-edged it to long-leg where Yadav took the catch.
Four runs later, Carter followed suit. The middle-order bat top-edged the flighted delivery from Ashwin behind backward square-leg and Shami took a well judged catch going backwards.
In the next over Mohit would have had the scalp of Darren Sammy against his name if Ravindra Jadeja at point had been able to hold on to the catch. But the relief was only temporary for WI as Andre Russell, departed an over later. Jadeja accounted for the batsman off the first ball of his spell. The batsman became another one in the line-up to perish taking the aerial route. Looking for a big hit he found Kohli towards long-off.
With the team struggling on 85 for seven, Holder joined Sammy in the middle and the pair toiled to keep the side afloat. They took WI past the three-figure mark as they stitched a partnership until Shami, reintroduced into the attack sent the former WI captain back. With the partnership on 39, Sammy nicked the ball to Dhoni behind the wickets to return for 26.
With Jerome Taylor, Holder worked to build the innings. He hit Jadeja over long-off and in the next, whipped Shami through mid-wicket and cleared the ropes straight down the ground. He collected six off Ashwin over extra cover to reach the 40. Keeping the score board moving Holder soon reached his fifty with a single to mid-on off Yadav.
While Holder held one end up, Taylor was let off by Rohit Sharma after the batsman had hit the ball high in the air. However, in his next over, Yadav had the batsman out in the similar fashion as tail-ender top-edge the bouncer. An over later the WI captain holed out to Kohli at long-off off Jadeja to be the last WI wicket to fall.
Chasing the target, India lost both the openers to Taylor. While Shikhar Dhawan edged the ball to Sammy in the slips, the delivery skimmed past Rohit’s bat through to the wicketkeeper leaving India on 20 for 2.
While Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane carried the innings forward, Kemar Roach, who had conceded nine in his first over kept the batsmen on their toes with judicious use of length. He extracted movement to ask questions of the batsmen as he plugged runs from one end. But as the third wicket partnership began to take shape, Kohli departed heaving the ball behind backward square-leg for 33.
15 runs later, Roach forced an edge from Rahane through to Ramdin behind the wickets to leave India on 78 for 4. Bowling a tight line, the WI bowlers kept their side in the game as India prodded on. Handed the ball, Smith claimed Raina in his first over to keep up the pressure. The left-hand bat edged the short ball to the Ramdin and made way for Jadeja.
With runs not easy to come by, the onus was on Dhoni to keep his side on course. His partnership with Jadeja was worth 27 when the left-hand bat top-edged a short-ball from Russell and returned for 13. With 49 runs required, Ashwin joined his captain in the effort to take the team across the line. While the India captain slammed a six off Russell, he relied on singles and twos to inch towards the target without further hiccups. With the run rate not being a concern, Dhoni watchfully took India across the line with the reliable Ashwin at the other end.