After a professional performance against Pakistan, India took the confidence into the match against defending champions West Indies as well on Sunday at Dhaka. Even though the performance wasn’t blemish-less, as the Indians dropped a couple of catches in the field, overall it was the kind of well-rounded effort that would please the Indians fans no end. Here’s a look at five performances that made the key difference in the game.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The medium pacer came up with an effort worthy of the man of the match. India had opted to bowl first, and MS Dhoni decided to open the bowling with Kumar instead of the usual choice, Ravichandran Ashwin. It was a big challenge for Kumar, since he was up against two big-hitters Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle. Kumar came up with a sensational spell, beating Smith constantly outside the off stump and just not allowing Gayle to come on strike. Kumar ended with magnificent figures – 3 runs from 3 overs.
Amit Mishra: For the second game in a row, the leg spinner came up with a match-defining performance. After a poor start, West Indies were on their way to recovery courtesy the partnership between Gayle and Marlon Samuels. However, after Gayle was run-out, Mishra put India on top, foxing Samuels and getting him stumped and then trapping Dwayne Bravo the very next ball. West Indies couldn’t recover from 74 for 4 and Mishra ended as the man of the match for the second game running.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Ever since Mishra has made his impressive comeback, Ashwin has been reduced to a supporting role. On Sunday, he played his part by bowling a probing spell. After Bhuvneshwar had bowled an exceptional opening spell, it was important for Ashwin not to ease the pressure. Smith and Gayle would have been keen to take him on, but Ashwin responded by dismissing Smith for a struggling 11 from 29 balls. The off-spinner finished with 1 for 24, and Dhoni would have taken it happily.
Rohit Sharma: With Shikhar Dhawan falling early, it was crucial that the other opener carried on. And, unlike many times in the past, Sharma did not disappoint. India weren’t chasing a huge score, but Sharma’s early dismissal could have put them under pressure considering Yuvraj Singh’s poor run of form. Sharma, however, played a mature hand; his unbeaten 62 ensuring India got home with ease. It was typical Sharma knock, decked with sweetly-timed boundaries and effortless sixes, which augurs well for India for the remainder of the tournament.
Virat Kohli: Consistency is his middle name, and Kohli stuck to the same on Sunday as well. Dhawan’ s early departure saw him arrive at the crease in the first over of the chase, with West Indies’ bowlers having their tails up. But, just like he has done so often in the past, Kohli absorbed all the pressure and came up with a handsome half-century to clear the path of victory for India. His hunger for runs was evident in his disgust after Kohli was dismissed.
--By A Cricket Analyst