Indian top-order batsmen perish early before Dhoni and Ashwin crush WI's hopes
Perth: The hot and quick WACA pulled a fast one on India, quite literally. Thankfully, a cool and patient India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had the last laugh as he worked his way around the speedy surface to a patient 56-ball 45 to ensure India beat West Indies by four wickets in a World Cup Group ‘B’ match here yesterday.
Pacer Mohammed Shami earlier took a Man of the Match-winning 3-35 as the Indian pacers used the bounce perfectly to dismiss the West Indies cheaply, for 182 in 44.2 overs.
However, some discredit must go to the Windies batters, save skipper Jason Holder, who literally walked in and out of the WACA as though they were strolling in the nearby King’s Park recreational garden. Chris Gayle just about threatened to cut loose before having hung around for long (27 balls) by his standards, but only ended up top-edging his pull shot off Shami to Mohit Sharma at long leg for 21. Had Holder (64-ball 57), who came in with the score reading 85-7, not stuck around, working his way to one and twos, the Windies could have well folded up inside the three-figure mark.
India pacer Mohammed Shami bowls against West Indies at the WACA in Perth yesterday. Pic/Suman Chattopadhyay
The Indian batsmen then repeated the mistakes of Windies batsmen — poor shot selection and trying to cut when the ball is too close and climbing — as the defending champions at one stage were reduced to 78-4 in just 17.5 overs. Shikar Dhawan (9), Virat Kohli (33), Ajinkya Rahane (14) and Suresh Raina (22) all perishing while trying to meet the short ball with a cross bat. Dhoni then emulated his opposite number and began meticulously working out the singles and twos. Ravindra Jadeja (13 off 23) then threw his wicket trying to pull but miscuing it at Marlon Samuels at deep square leg. Ravichandran Ashwin then rescued India with the bat as he and Dhoni played out the highest partnership of the innings — 51 runs — as India ensured its entry into the quarter-finals with four out of four wins.
As though, Andre Russell’s bouncer (second ball of the 19th over) sailing over a jumping Denesh Ramdin, one bounce and into the fence was not enough of an indication, Dhoni’s upper-cut six over third man proved that the WACA was tough to bat on yesterday.
'Not an easy chase'
Dhoni endorsed this view too. “It was a tough wicket and not really easy to chase as it was slightly double paced. When West Indies were batting, it was a bit more difficult in the first 10 overs. Later too there was a bit of swing for the West Indian bowlers, which made it difficult for our batsmen,” he said in the post-match press conference. Speaking about the fall of India’s early wickets, Dhoni said he was happy that his lower order was tested before the knockout stages. “It’s good that the lower order got a chance to bat because they are tested here, and hopefully in the coming two games also they’ll get a bit more batting and will be ready for the knock-out stages. We’ll need more contributions from the lower order,” said Dhoni.
Holder meanwhile blamed his batsmen for the debacle. “I thought the wicket was a good one to bat on, but our batsmen just didn’t play themselves in. We should have been looking at a total of around 270. Our bowlers did get wickets early on but we didn’t get enough runs on the board because we just didn’t bat well enough,” he said.
It’s not often we say that the Indian bowling won them the game. However, they have been dishing out one remarkable performance after another in the four games so far. Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav kept things tight at the start to leave the West Indies tottering at 35-4. They were ably backed by Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, all of whom were among the wickets.
Star of the match
We have now lost count of the number of times Mahendra Singh Dhoni has bailed the team out. Captain Cool came to the team’s rescue yet again when India still needed 105 to win and Jerome Taylor was at full steam.
Left: Skipper MS Dhoni en route his unbeaten 56-ball 45 during India’s match against West Indies at the WACA in Perth yesterday. Pic:AP/PTI
Facing flak for his lack of form recently, Dhoni showed why he is considered to be the best finisher in the business with a composed 45 not out that took India over the line.
D Smith c Dhoni
b Mohammed Shami - 6
C Gayle c M Sharma
b Mohammed Shami - 21
M Samuels run out
(M Sharma/Kohli) - 2
J Carter c Mohammed Shami b Ashwin - 21
D Ramdin b Yadav - 0
L Simmons c Yadav
b M Sharma - 9
D Sammy c Dhoni
b Mohammed Shami - 26
A Russell c Kohli b Jadeja - 8
J Holder c Kohli b Jadeja - 57
J Taylor c & b Yadav - 11
K Roach not out - 0
Extras (lb 5, w 16) 21
Total (all out; 44.2 overs) 182
Fall of wickets 1-8, 2-15, 3-35, 4-35, 5-67, 6-71, 7-85, 8-124, 9-175
Mohammed Shami 8-2-35-3
U Yadav 10-1-42-2
R Ashwin 9-0-38-1
M Sharma 9-2-35-1
R Jadeja 8.2-0-27-2
R Sharma c Ramdin b Taylor - 7
S Dhawan c Sammy b Taylor - 9
V Kohli c Samuels b Russell - 33
A Rahane c Ramdin
b Roach - 14
S Raina c Ramdin b Smith 22
MS Dhoni not out - 45
R Jadeja c Samuels b Russell - 13
R Ashwin not out - 16
Extras (b 1, lb 3, w 19, nb 3) - 26
Total (6 wickets; 39.1 overs) - 185
Fall of wickets 1-11, 2-20, 3-63, 4-78, 5-107, 6-134
J Taylor 8-0-33-2
J Holder 7-0-29-0
K Roach 8-1-44-1
A Russell 8-0-43-2
D Smith 5-0-22-1
M Samuels 3.1-0-10-0
Number of ODI wins India has registered under MS Dhoni’s captaincy on foreign soil, surpassing Sourav Ganguly’s 58