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by Krish Sripada Friday 6 March 2015
India 185-6 (Dhoni 45 no) beatWest Indies 182 (Holder 57) by four wicketsWorld Cup, 28th Match Pool B at WACAScorecardLacklustre batting and bizarre bowling tactics by West Indies towards the end followed by a characteristic MS Dhoni chase at the WACA allowed India to extend their World Cup winning streak to eight, in a reasonably tight match.West Indies won the toss and chose to bat on a pitch that had plenty of bounce and life, allowing the ball to nibble a little bit both ways.
Indian seamers used the conditions to perfection with Mohammad Shami (3-35) and Umesh Yadav (2-42) consistently bowling over 140 kph and troubling the West Indian batsmen.
Dwayne Smith (6) went early to a beauty from Shami, after pressure was built up with Chris Gayle (21) not taking too many singles.
Marlon Samuels (2) was run out owing to a massive confusion between Gayle and him.
Gayle, who was reprieved twice, failed to make use of it, losing his wicket just when he was finding his groove. He smashed a six and two fours before top edging a pull, finding the deep fine leg fielder.Before long, West Indies were stumbling at 38 for four by the end of the first powerplay.
Mohit Sharma (1-35) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1-38) bowled beautifully, the latter using an entire bag of tricks and subtle variations to trouble the West Indian batsmen.
India weren’t exactly at their best catching as they dropped at least four chances. But, West Indians played without a plan or purpose playing shots that reeked of indiscretion, with Lendl Simmons (9) and Andre Russell (8) proving that in the lower middle order.
At 85 for seven, West Indies seemed blown away by inch-perfect Indian bowling, but their skipper Jason Holder (57) managed to greatly enhance the challenge, top scoring with his second half-century.
Holder added 39 for the eight wicket with Darren Sammy (26) and 51 with Jerome Taylor (11) for the ninth wicket, stroking four fours and three sixes to push the tally to 182, Indian bowlers contributing to that with 21 extras.
Shami, who picked up his second man-of-the-match award in the tournament, was easily the pick of the Indian bowlers.
All of them had a reasonably good outing, including Ravindra Jadeja (2-27) who picked the wickets of Russell and Holder to keep the tally under 200.
India dismissing their opponent in four consecutive One-Day Internationals last happened nine years back, showing how well they have bowled in this World Cup.Buoyed by their last three wickets adding nearly 100 runs, West Indies came out all guns blazing.
For the first time in this tournament, India lost both openers early, Rohit Sharma (7) and Shikhar Dhawan (9) nicking Taylor (2-33) to the wicket-keeper and second slip respectively.
Virat Kohli (33) and Ajinkya Rahane (14) consolidated the innings for a while, taking India from 20 for two to reasonable safety at 63 for three, before Kohli top-edged a needless hook to return back to the pavilion.
The pace and disconcerting bounce looked difficult to deal with, but it took a controversial DRS decision to send Rahane back to the pavilion.
Given caught behind, Rahane asked for a review, the snicko showing nothing. Yet, he was given out under the pretext that there were soft spikes that didn’t prove beyond doubt that the umpire was wrong.
There was more flutter in the Indian camp as Suresh Raina (22) edged a wide delivery off Dwayne Smith (1-22), continuing his poor streak after the innings against Pakistan.
Jadeja (13) mishit a pull off Russell (2-43) who led the West Indian turnaround with two important wickets, including that of Kohli leaving India at 134 for six.
Eventually, it came down to India’s captain cool, Dhoni (45 not out) who put on an unbeaten 51-run partnership with Ashwin (16 not out ) to take India home, ensuring they equal their longest winning streak of eight matches in the World Cups.
Dhoni now has 59 ODI wins away from home, overtaking Sourav Ganguly. He also has 37 not outs in successful chases, the most by any batsman. Dhoni proved that he is the man for a crisis, also leading the list of best averages in winning chases.
While at one point India were under real pressure during the chase, the tactics from the inexperienced West Indian skipper Holder (0-29) who bowled Samuels (0-10) and Smith at a critical stage, with his frontline bowlers still having couple of overs each left, were absolutely incomprehensible.
This allowed the Indians to cruise through towards the end, reaching the target with 65 balls to spare.
India, now the only team apart from New Zealand to remain unbeaten in this World Cup, are all but assured of finishing top of the Pool B, with only matches against Ireland and Zimbabwe left.
Meanwhile West Indies are in a spot of bother as far as their quarter-final chances are concerned, stuck at four points with their net run-rate not in great health either.© Cricket World 2015