By BV Swagath
A superb 14th ODI century from Skipper Virat Kohli followed up by a demolition job from the bowlers kept India alive in the Tri-Series. The Men in Blue gave a sound thrashing of 102 runs to hosts West Indies in Match 4 of the Celkon Mobile Cup. This is the first win for India in three games of the tournament. India thanks to a wonderful opening stand and then a great knock from Kohli piled up 311 for 7. West Indies in reply were bowled out for 171 after their innings was curtailed by rain.
Kohli’s sensational knock puts Indian in command
Asked to bat first, India was off to a solid start with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma determined to do what the Lankan pair of Mahela and Tharanga did to India a couple of days back. The Indian pair started off steadily before Shikhar Dhawan showed more flair to keep the scoreboard moving while Rohit was intent to keep his end safe. West Indies could break the opening stand only in the 24th over with the well set Shikhar Dhawan playing a pick up shot straight to deep backward squareleg off Roach leaving India at 123 for 1. Dhawan scored 69 from 77 balls with 8 fours and a couple of sixes slog sweeping Sunil Narine.
Rohit Sharma threw his wicket after doing all the hard work to reach 46 from 78 balls (with 5 fours) edging a forcing cut off Best to the keeper in the 30th over. West Indies a few overs later got the wickets of Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik in succession to peg back India at 168 for 5 by the 36th over. While Raina was caught at slip edging a turning ball from Samuels, Dinesh Karthik was at the receiving end of a dubious caught behind decision from Nigel Llong when he missed a short and rising delivery around the rib cage.
India was put back on track by a crucial partnership of 42 in 28 balls for the 5th wicket between Skipper Kohli and Murali Vijay, who was demoted to no.6. Vijay upset at being dropped from the team for the Zimbabwe tour tried to make a statement by blazing the West Indian bowlers before throwing his wicket, slashing Pollard to backward point. Vijay scored 27 from 18 balls with 5 fours to help India cross 200. India was put to more trouble when Ravindra Jadeja was run out to leave the visitors at 221 for 6 in the 42nd over.
It was in the slog overs that Virat Kohli finally got going and in the company of R Ashwin (25* from 18 balls with 3 fours). Kohli produced tremendous strokeplay, especially the meaty pulls off the fast bowlers to score a sensational 102 from 83 balls (with 13 fours and 2 sixes) to lift India to 311 for 7. For the West Indies, Darren Sammy who opened the bowling was good for his 8-1-28-0. Skipper Dwayne Bravo who over bowled himself ahead of Sammy in the final overs was taken into the cleaners for 57 runs in 7 overs.
West Indies’ run chase derailed
The run chase for the hosts was derailed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar striking twice to remove Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo. Gayle was caught in the slips in a forcing backfoot drive with Kumar getting the ball to seam away with extra bounce while Darren Bravo edged a flamboyant cover drive off an outswinger to the keeper to leave the hosts at 25 for 2 in 5 overs. In no time, rain arrived at Port of Spain to stop play with West Indies at 56 for 2 in 10 overs.
When play resumed at the Queen’s Park Oval, the West Indian target was revised to 274 from 39 overs. The hosts quickly slipped away out of the contest with Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard dismissed in the space of five balls. Samuels was out twice, first gloving a nasty lifter from Ishant to the keeper but Umpire Peter Nero ruled it not out. Ishant got his justice when he produced a thick edge this time with a short of length leg cutter which angled in and moved away off the track. Big man Pollard was out for a first ball duck fending off a surprise bouncer from Bhuvneshwar to the slips.
Johnson Charles, who was threatening the Indians with his daring strokeplay also departed, miscuing a pull off Ishant to squareleg to leave the hosts at 69 for 5 in 13.3 overs. Charles scored 45 from 39 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes. The West Indian collapse continued after this as the hosts slipped to 113 for 8 by the 25th over. Umesh Yadav triggered the collapse taking the three wickets with Denesh Ramdin caught at mid off with a leading edge, Skipper Dwayne Bravo lbw to a low skidding inducker and Darren Sammy lbw to a slower one.
India’s inevitable win was delayed by the injured Sunil Narine and a stubborn Kemar Roach with the 9th wicket pair putting on 58 runs. Narine was dismissed holing out to long off to Jadeja. The same bowler yorked Roach (34 from 33 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes) to wrap up things for India by the end of the 34th over. West Indies were bowled out for 171 with Kumar and Yadav taking three wickets each while Ishant and Jadeja chipping in with a couple of wickets each. Virat Kohli as expected got the Man of the Match award.
Toss and Teams: West Indies with Dwayne Bravo back as the Captain have won the toss and asked India to bat first at Port of Spain in Trinidad. It is a must win game for India having lost two matches prior to this against the hosts and Sri Lanka.
Devon Smith makes way for Dwayne Bravo. India has made one change with Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming in for Mohammad Shami. The pitch for this game threatens to crumble and it should take spin. There is a bit of grass as well but perhaps to hold the surface together.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo (C), Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (WK), Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach, Tino Best
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav