India became the first team to enter the Champions Trophy semi-final, courtesy a thumping eight-wicket win over West Indies at the Oval here on Tuesday.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja were the chief architects of the win that saw India reach the last-four after a gap of 11 years. Jadeja continued his evolution as a bowler with his first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket, ending with figures of 5-36 in 10 overs. And were it not for Darren Sammy’s late onslaught, the Saurashtra all-rounder could have notched up remarkably better statistics.
Dhawan, meanwhile, displayed why he is the pick of the Indian batsmen these days. He was steady to start with, allowing his partner Rohit Sharma to take on the Windies pacers, and only once had he settled in, did the batsman from Delhi unleash an array of strokes. Dhawan, though, was lucky to survive twice. He was dropped once by Kieron Pollard and then by Kemar Roach, on 23 and 42, respectively. While Pollard's catch at point was a difficult one, Roach dropped a sitter at fine leg off Dwayne Bravo’s bowling.
In the final analysis, it was a total the West Indies would have been disappointed with, given the nature of the wicket. Although Dhoni had put them in looking at the grey conditions, the ball rarely swung or seamed. They were well on course for a handsome total, having reached 103-1, despite losing the dangerous Chris Gayle for only 21.
Nevertheless, the match turned on its head once Jadeja was introduced into the attack. He picked up three wickets off 17 balls and the opponents found it difficult to recover from this mini collapse.
SAMMY ON SONG
The quick fall of wickets meant the West Indies lost considerable momentum, forcing the likes of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to steady the innings before harbouring any thoughts of acceleration. Once they were on top, the Indian bowlers rarely gave any leeway and it was only thanks to Sammy’s unbeaten 56 that his team managed the modest 233.
Despite overcast conditions, the pitch was dry and conducive for stroke play and the Indian openers took full toll of the pitch and some pretty ordinary bowling.
India play Pakistan on Saturday.
West Indies 233/9 (Johnson Charles 60, Darren Sammy 56 no, Ravindra Jadeja 5/36).
India 236/2 in 39.1 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 102 no, Rohit Sharma 52, Dinesh Karthik 50 no).
India won by 8 wkts.