India became the first team to book their place in the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy - knocking arch-rivals Pakistan out while doing so - with a comprehensive demolition of the West Indies in south London.
There were several parallels with their defeat of South Africa on Thursday. Shikhar Dhawan hit a century and added more than 100 with fellow opener Rohit Sharma, while Ravindra Jadeja was once again mightily impressive with his left-arm spin.
Indeed, it was Jadeja’s spell that proved to be the turning point in the match. The West Indies had fairly cantered to 103 for one in the 20th over after being asked to bat on a true Oval pitch. However, as is often the case at The Oval, good spinners are rewarded and Jadeja is rapidly putting himself in that bracket. He took a career-best five for 36 from his 10 overs and helped cause the West Indies to collapse to 182 for nine, losing eight wickets for 79 runs in almost 26 overs.
They had begun well thanks to Johnson Charles, who was at his typical belligerent best. He blazed nine boundaries during an innings of 60 off 55 balls and coped with the loss of his opening partner Chris Gayle in the fifth over before dominating a second-wicket stand of 78 with Darren Bravo.
However, it was his dismissal, trapped plumb in front by Jadeja, that triggered their collapse. Jadeja followed up that wicket by removing Marlon Samuels, courtesy of a review, and Ramnaresh Sarwan, caught down the leg-side by MS Dhoni, in successive overs.
The Bravo half-brothers fell within five overs of one another as Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin backed up Jadeja well. Kieron Pollard was also unable to make much of an impression. He clubbed two sixes before being sent packing by Sharma to make it 171 for seven. Jadeja then claimed wicket number four by tempting Sunil Narine into an ambitious shot and having him caught by Dinesh Karthik.
It was over to Darren Sammy, playing in place of the banned Denesh Ramdin, to revitalise the West Indies innings. He hit four sixes and five fours and ended not out on 56 off only 35 balls to guide his side up to a scarcely competitive 233 for nine from their 50 overs.
After barely an hour of the India run chase, it was apparent that that would be nowhere near enough. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan tucked into some loose West Indies bowling with some pleasing strokes and put on 101 in less than 16 overs.
Sharma finally gave the West Indies a breakthrough when he was caught down the leg-side. Originally given not out, the decision was reviewed, with Hot Spot showing a faint edge. Virat Kohli gave them a second strike not long afterwards when he was bowled through the gate by Narine to end his enterprising cameo at 22 off 18 balls, but India’s victory was never in doubt.
Either side of a short rain delay, Dhawan and Karthik shared an unbroken 109. Dhawan reached his second hundred in as many matches shortly before the end off 102 balls, while Karthik finished not out on 51 off 54 balls. India had won with more than 10 overs to spare and were into the semi-finals. The identity of the other semi-finalist from Group B will be decided when South Africa and the West Indies meet on Friday.
© Cricket World 2013
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