By BV Swagath
West Indies stay alive in the short ODI Series with Darren Sammy taking them to a tense 2-wicket victory in the Second Match at Vizag. Sammy whose place in the team itself was a big question, proved his critics wrong by scoring a match-winning 63* from just 45 balls.
The visitors weren’t the favourites to chase down the target of 289 as their line-up was without Gayle and Pollard. India’s new ball bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma made inroads to have the tourists at 23 for 2 by the 6th over. Johnson Charles was caught and bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar off a miscued heave. Marlon Samuels was out to Mohit, caught low after edging his drive to MS Dhoni who was standing up to the stumps.
The West Indies got going thanks to the third wicket stand between opener Kieran Powell and the stylish Darren Bravo. The pair added 100 runs in less than 15 overs before Darren Bravo was caught edging a cut shot off Ashwin soon after scoring 50 (from 54 balls with 8 fours). Ashwin who bowled 10 overs on the trot giving away only 37 runs claimed his second wicket when Powell (59 from 70 balls with 7 fours and a six) was stumped out, leaving his crease too early and missing a widish off break. Windies slipped further at 185 for 5 in the 35th over when Skipper Dwayne Bravo (18) was caught at deep squareleg top edging a forcing pull off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
India had the match in its hands but the pair of Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy took it away with their fighting partnership of 82 runs in 11.3 overs. The partnership wouldn’t have gone that far had Yuvraj Singh held onto the sitter of a catch offered by Simmons in the 42nd over. Simmons (62 from 74 balls with 5 fours and a six) got out eventually in the 47th over, lbw to an arm ball from Jadeja.
West Indies needed just 22 from the last three overs with Sammy going great guns. There was a bit of drama in the end with two more wickets going down but Sammy held his nerve to carry his side to victory with three balls to spare.
India Innings: India might have stumbled at 209 for 5 at the end of the 40th over but a superb Captain’s knock from MS Dhoni has helped them to finish with a strong total of 288 for 7. Dhoni took his time at the start but ended India’s innings with a brutal knock of 51 not out from 40 balls with 3 fours and 4 sixes. This was after Virat Kohli had set the foundation with his 99 (from 100 balls with 9 fours). The pitch at Vizag turned quite a lot for Sunil Narine but in the second half, dew could challenge the Indian spinners big time.
For once, India didn’t get off to a flying start as the in-form Rohit Sharma was caught behind edging his cut shot off Ravi Rampaul in the 5th over. Shikhar Dhawan got his eye in to score 35 (from 37 balls) before he was lbw to left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, playing outside the line to a turning ball. At 69 for 2 in the 14th over, Yuvraj Singh joined Virat Kohli to put up a good partnership.
Just when Yuvraj was getting into his elements, a casual pull shot from him off Darren Sammy was caught at mid wicket to cut his promising innings to 28 from 49 balls which included a mighty sixer. Kohli held the innings together for India, getting another 50 plus partnership on the trot, this time with Suresh Raina. Like Yuvraj, Raina too failed to capitalize on his good start to be dismissed for a 24-ball 23 after attempting a blind slog off Rampaul.
India was well set at 203 for 4 in 37.2 overs but were in trouble when Virat Kohli got out hooking Rampaul to the diving Jason Holder at long leg. Kohli narrowly missed out on what could have been his 18th ODI ton, and also a hat-trick of centuries at this venue in three games at this ground by just the one run! The 25-year-old’s exit came at the wrong time leaving India at a shaky 209 for 5 in 40 overs.
Skipper MS Dhoni finished off the innings in style while getting able support from R Ashwin, who chipped in with a 10-ball 19. India scored as many as 66 runs in the last five overs. For West Indies, Rampaul took 4 for 60 in 10 overs although his figures would have read a lot better but for the two sixes off his last two balls hit by Dhoni. Sunil Narine had an outstanding day going for just 39 off his 10 overs. In fact, Narine’s second spell was of 5 overs which were taken for just 8 runs!
Toss and Teams: West Indies have won the toss and elected to bowl first in the Second ODI at Vizag. There is no Chris Gayle because of a hamstring injury; he has been replaced with Kieran Powell. There is another change with Veerasammy Permaul coming in for Narsingh Deonarine. India have made one change with Mohit Sharma replacing Jaydev Unadkat.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma
West Indies: Johnson Charles (WK), Kieran Powell, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo (C), Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Jason Holder, Ravi Rampaul, Veerasammy Permaul