Shikhar Dhawan's ton helps India seal series with 5-wicket win over West Indies

Shikhar Dhawan (above) surpassed his previous best ODI score of 116. He was dismissed on 119 by Dwayne Bravo © IANS

By Abhijit Banare
 
Nov 27, 2013
 
Shikhar Dhawan’s fifth One-Day International (ODI) century helped India complete a 2-1 to series victory with five–wicket win over West Indies in the third and final ODI at the Green Park Stadium, Kanpur on Wednesday. Chasing 264 India got to their target with more than three overs to spare.
 
Dhawan (119) along With Yuvraj Singh shared a vital fourth-wicket partnership. Yuvraj, who managed to crawl to his 51st ODI half-century defied a persistent attack by Sunil Narine from one end in the 129-run stand.
 
Irrespective of the target to chase, Indian openers have always set the tone of the match. And if one of them fails, the other ensures he is good enough to take the team ahead. On Wednesday, though Rohit Sharma scored just four, Dhawan was in sublime touch, fearlessly dealing in boundaries at the start of the innings. Dhawan’s fluency was a treat to watch as he hit the West Indies bowlers on both sides of the wicket.
 
The chase faced a little hiccup early on, when two in-form batsmen Rohit and Virat Kohli were dismissed early for four and 19 respectively. Both were sent back by Ravi Rampaul, who completed 100 ODI wickets by dismissing Kohli.
 
India’s moment of uncertainty lasted beyond Kohli’s dismissal as Yuvraj struggled to settle himself in. Despite completing a fifty-run partnership with Dhawan, Yuvraj was living dangerously. He was comfortable against the ones that spun away from him by Narine but ended up committing himself much early when the ball spun back into him.
 
Dwayne Bravo took a brave decision by persisting with Narine on the trot in the quest for sending back Yuvraj, but the left-hand batsman was determined to hang on and did so successfully. He even got back Rampaul for a while but even that didn’t work. Pretty soon, Yuvraj appeared comfortable and started scoring at ease. Dhawan in the meanwhile breezed through. After completing his fifty, Dhawan punished the bowlers by hitting them all around and within quick time was close to his century.
 
Both the batsmen achieved their respective feats in the same over of Narine. Yuvraj completed his half-century — his 51st in ODIs — while Dhawan hit a four to bring up his fifth ODI ton. He hit 20 boundaries in the 95-ball innings. The only opportunity for the visitors was a late cut shot by Dhawan which flew past Darren Sammy’s face at slips.
 
The big partnership in both the innings made a difference. While Marlon Samuels (70) and Kieran Powell (71) scored well, they failed to keep the partnership going. And once they were dismissed West Indies scoring slowed down a bit before a late flourish by Darren Bravo and Darren Sammy took them to 263. But that drop in run-rate proved them costly.
 
By the time Yuvraj fell India were well on course. Narine, who had troubled Yuvraj enough finally got his wicket in his ninth over. The resigned look on Narine’s face signalled that it was a touch too late for the visitors. The new man in, Suresh Raina too didn’t have a great record facing Narine but managed to escape.

Dhawan and Raina then continued to score at ease. In the course of persisting with Narine and Rampaul, Veerasammy Permaul hardly bowled for the interesting part of the chase. His first over saw 14 runs being scored and finally came back in the 33rd over. Even rest of the bowlers couldn’t trouble the batsmen much.
 
Dhawan was finally dismissed for 119 as he played a tired shot lobbing a simple catch back to Dwayne Bravo of his own bowling. This is is highest score in ODIs now surpassing the previous best of 116 in Zimbabwe.

Raina was dismissed for 34 with India needing nine more. MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja completed the formalities taking their own time towards the end.
 
West Indies were put into bat by Dhoni and this time around the dew wasn’t an issue. The Indian pacers too were accurate not allowing the batsmen to breeze through. Even though the eventual score of 263 was well above the par score on this ground, against the formidable Indian batting even 30-40 runs more appears insufficient. With the form that Dhawan, Kohli and Rohit are in, at least one of them has successfully managed to see India through.

This victory will give India a lot of confidence as they head to South Africa for three ODIs and two Tests in December.
 
Brief scores:
 
West Indies 263 for 5 in 50 overs (Kieran Powell 70, Marlon Samuels 71, Darren Bravo 51*, Darren Sammy 37*; Ravichandran Ashwin 2 for 45) lost to India 266 for 5 in 46.1 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 119, Yuvraj Singh 55, Suresh Raina 34; Ravi Rampaul 2 for 55) by 5 wickets.

Man of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan

Man of the Series: Virat Kohli

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