Perth: A superlative bowling performance helped India beat the West Indies by four wickets in a World Cup Pool B encounter at the WACA here on Friday. They registered their fourth straight victory and qualified for the quarterfinals.
Skipper Jason Holder (57) waged a lone battle as the West Indies were bowled out for 182 in 44.2 overs. During the chase, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (not out 45), Virat Kohli (33) and Ashwin (16) helped the defending champions cross the line with four wickets and 10.5 overs to spare.
Indian bowlers once again dominated the proceedings from the start once Jason Holder elected to bat on a fast and bouncy WACA strip.
The West Indies batsmen never looked like being in the game as they fell one after the other, failing to gauge the bounce of the track and getting all out in 44.2 overs.
A fit-again Mohammed Shami (3/35 in 8 overs), coming back after a match's rest, was the best of the lot as he troubled the batsman with both pace and bounce. He bowled a deadly first-spell where he took both Dwayne Smith (6) and Chris Gayle (21) out of the equation, to seize the momentum in favour of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side.
Mohammad Shami. Pic/ AFP
He was complemented well by the quartet of Umesh Yadav (2/42 in 10 overs), Mohit Sharma (1/35), Ravichandran Ashwin (1/38) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/27) as West Indies looked no better than a minnow side during the entire duration of their innings.
Young Holder (57) did play his heart out as his gutsy half-century provided some respect to his team's total. He added 51 runs for the ninth wicket with Jerome Taylor (11) as West Indies managed to cross the 175-run mark after being 124 for eight at one stage.
The way Indian team sorted Gayle out was all about strategy and execution. Aided by the bounce, both Yadav and Shami mostly pitched it on good length as Gayle found it difficult to tee off in his customary 'stand and deliver' style. The extra bounce saw a couple of slashes go towards third man but fielders couldn't complete the catches. The big-hitter played and missed a few. It took him 18 balls to hit his first four over over mid-off when Yadav bowled in the slot. Gayle also hit Shami over mid-on while pulling Yadav over deep mid-wicket for a six.
Having lost his opening partner Smith and Marlon Samuels (2), Gayle showed some urgency but struggled big time. At this point of time, Dhoni removed his deep fine leg fielder and made it stand at deep square leg. The move paid dividends as there was an intriguing battle going on between Gayle and Shami.
Before Gayle became the third victim, Smith was done in by that extra bounce that Shami generated with practically no room to play the square cut. The resultant edge went to Dhoni as a regulation catch.
Samuels (2) was run-out when he misjudged a single after Gayle's mistimed pull-shot fell just short of a diving Mohit running forward from his mid-wicket position. By the time Gayle refused the single, Samuels had nearly come upto him and there was no way that he could have made it back. Denesh Ramdin (0) was the fourth wicket to fall as Yadav bowled a fullish delivery and the wicketkeeper-batsman went for an expansive drive only to be played on. With 35 for four at the start of the 10th over, there was no chance for a West Indies revival after that.
Slightly built left-hander Jonathan Carter (21) had a 32-run stand for the fifth wicket with Lendl Simmons (9) in which the former was the dominant partner. Simmons became Mohit's first victim when his hook shot landed straight at Yadav's throat at the deep fine leg boundary as West Indies were 67 for five.
While facing Ashwin, Carter was repeatedly trying to play the slog sweep without taking the bounce into account. He misread the bounce and paid price for it as his top-edged sweep was easily taken by Shami at deep fine leg boundary to make 71 for six.
Andre Russell (8) hit Mohit for a six but then tried to hoick Jadeja over deep mid-wicket to be taken by Virat running forward from his position at long-off boundary.
At the halfway stage, West Indies were down in the dumps at 88 for seven and it was then left to Holder to salvage the innings partly.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain & wk), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav.
West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Lendl Simmons, Jonathan Carter, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor.