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Shikhar Dhawan got to his century with an upper cut that flew for six over third-man © AFP

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

London: Jun 11, 2013

India have become the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 with an eight wicket victory over the West Indies at The Oval. Ravindra Jadeja’s fifer dented the West Indian innings, before Darren Sammy powered them to 233. However, Shikhar Dhawan smashed his second consecutive hundred to take India home comfortably.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl first. India came into this game unchanged. West Indies were forced to change because of Denesh Ramdhin’s suspension and Darren Sammy came in. Johnson Charles would don the gloves when the West Indies defend their total.

Chris Gayle looked dangerous early on, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed him just as he was looking to explode. Charles attacked and was fearless in his strokeplay. He made room for himself and lofted the ball with ease.

Charles got to his fifty off 46 balls and India weren’t able to contain him. Even after he got to fifty, he showed the intent by smashing a six. But, then came the turning point. The man with the golden arm — Ravindra Jadeja came into the attack and bowled Charles for 60.

The left-armer wasn’t done there as he trapped Marlon Samuels leg before — a review that went in India’s favour. Aleem Dar had initially ruled him not out, but Dhoni called for the review and replays indicated that the ball hit the pad first and was going on to hit the leg-stump. West Indies slumped further as Jadeja had Ramnaresh Sarwan caught down the leg-side. From 103 for one, they had slipped to 109 for four.

It was tough going for West Indies as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Kieron Pollard also looked dangerous, but fell while trying to up the ante. But, Darren Sammy was a man on a mission. He came into this game and wanted to make a mark. And he did it in some style!

Wickets were falling at one end, but Sammy was ready to use the long handle. He nonchalantly hit the bowlers across the park and added vital runs to the West Indies total. He was severe on Ishant Sharma in particular. The penultimate over of the innings went for 21 runs as Sammy smashed two sixes and two fours.

In the final over, Sammy easily lofted Jadeja over covers for a maximum to complete a great fifty off only 35 balls. He was vindicated! West Indies finished with 233 for nine thanks to his effort.

Was India going to be rattled by it? Not quite. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan continued from where they left off against South Africa at Cardiff.

Matching each other for every stroke, Rohit and Dhawan dealt in boundaries. Both were particularly severe on the off-side as they cut with ease. Rohit waited on deliveries and then wafted his bat at them to send them rocketing through point with all timing. Dhawan was more brutal as there was power in his strokeplay. He also had a stroke of luck as Kieron Pollard failed to hold on to a tough chance at point. Had that been taken, it would have been one of the catches of the tournament.

India got to hundred in the 16th over. Soon after, Rohit was out caught behind for 52. Initially ruled not out, hot-spot showed he got a thin edge and the call was overturned. Virat Kohli, who was playing his 100th One-Day International (ODI) came in and played a few good strokes, but fell for 22.

Dhawan continued India’s charge in the company of Dinesh Karthik. The DRS system came to India’s rescue yet again. Karthik was ruled out caught behind, but he immediately called for a review. The bat had clearly missed the ball.

It was an easy task from there on. Although India slowed down, they were never really troubled. As Dhawan was marching towards his second consecutive hundred, the clouds opened up. There was a slight interruption, but play resumed without the loss of any overs.

As India approached the target, Dhawan and Karthik were marching towards their respective milestones. Dhawan got to his hundred with an upper-cut off Dwayne Bravo which flew over thid-man for six. Karthik hit a four to seal India’s win and also complete his half-century.

India now face Pakistan in their final league game on June 15, a contest that will not have much bearing in terms of qualifying for the semi-finals. West Indies move on to face South Africa in a must-win game.

Brief Scores:

West Indies 233 for 9 in 50 overs (Johnson Charles 60, Darren Sammy 56*; Ravindra Jadeja 5 for 36) lost to India 236 for 2 in 39.1 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 102*, Rohit Sharma 52; Sunil Narine 2 for 49) by 8 wickets.

Match of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja

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