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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Mar 23, 2014
It is the second consecutive game in which the Indian spinners strangled the opposition and setup the foundation of a convincing victory. In the lead-up to this game against the West Indies, there was a lot of talk about the Indian spinners taking on the Caribbean batsmen. And, this contest was clearly won the Indian tweakers. Amit Mishra led the way again with a spell of two for 18 as West Indies reached 129 for seven. And, later, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma helped overhaul the challenge quite easily as India sealed victory by seven wickets.
India came into this game unchanged and West Indies made a few surprising choices. The ploy to include Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine was sound considering the slow surface at the Shere Bangla National Stadium. But, they left out Ravi Rampaul, a seamer who has a good record against India. Instead, they brought in Krishmar Santokie, who has made quite a name off late. MS Dhoni won the toss and had no hesitation to bowl first. although the West Indies had a power-packed batting line-up.
West Indies stuttered throughout their innings as the Indian spinners kept pegging them. Had the last over not gone for 21 runs, the score could have been smaller. Through the innings, West Indies had struggled with the pace off the ball. Ravindra Jadeja, the more faster spinner in the side, was only brought in after Chris Gayle was dismissed. And, although he did take three wickets, he conceded 48 runs.
From the outset, West Indies had struggled. Dwayne Smith ambled to 11 from 29 balls. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s early spell had tied him down. His overall figures read three overs for three runs, two of which came off wides. Out of the 18 balls he bowled, 17 were to Smith and it tells you how well he kept him quiet.
Gayle’s innings was a mixed bag. He did record a few big hits, but was going by his normal approach of taking time and waiting for the assault later. And, he was also helped by a few dropped chances. Ravichandran Ashwin failed to hold on to a chance at first-slip in the second over. Later, off Mishra’s second ball, Yuvraj grassed a skier at deep mid-wicket. India would be happy that it didn’t cost them much as he was run-out for 34. Ashwin, Mishra and Suresh Raina kept them in check in the middle overs and just piled the pressure.
Towards the end, Lendl Simmons fought on and pushed the score to 129. Even then, Mishra was dominant, giving only two runs in the penultimate over. There was some confusion over India’s target. The main issue was whether a run was counted when Simmons holed out to the deep of Jadeja. But the target was unchanged and it remained at 130. Badree started the proceedings and had Shikhar Dhawan leg-before early on. Dhawan can consider himself unlucky as it had pitched outside the leg-stump and was going down leg.
Kohli walked out and looked as assured as well. He attacked Badree in the third over, smashing him for a four and six to shift momentum. Even Santokie was picked for a few easy boundaries. That relieved the pressure on Rohit as well, who got into his stride by smashing a Narine free-hit over long-off for six.
Both Kohli and Rohit made run-scoring look quite easy. Kohli to his fifty off 34 balls. Rohit got there a little later off 44 balls. With victory in sight, Andre Russell bowled Kohli for 54. Yuvraj walked in as he needed a good hit in the middle. A pull for four off the second ball gave him confidence. He did struggle a touch later on, but with Rohit on song, the victory was achieved with two balls to spare. Yuvraj was dismissed in the last over to bring a little drama. One could have expected them to finish it a lot earlier, pushing their net run rate. Nevertheless, India would be happy with the result.
This win takes India on top in the points table of Group 2 of the Super 10s, but early days in the tournament.
West Indies 129 for 7 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 34, Lendl Simmons 27; Ravindra Jadeja 3 for 48, Amit Mishra 2 for 18, Ravichandran Ashwin 1 for 24) lost to India 133 for 3 in 19.4 overs (Rohit Sharma 62*, Virat Kohli 54; Samuel Badree 1 for 28, Andre Russell 1 for 12) by 7 wickets.
Man of the Match: Amit Mishra.
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