Report: WI vs Ind - Celkon Mobile Cup
India lost their opening game of the ongoing tri-series to West Indies by one wicket at Sabina Park. Chasing 230, the West Indies batsmen held their nerve to win their second successive game of the tournament stay atop the points table.
In his first outing as the captain of the national side, Kieron Pollard, standing in for Dwayne Bravo, invited India to take first strike. Kemar Roach then gave West Indies a crucial breakthrough in the fifth over to break India’s in-form opening partnership. The hosts’ bowlers continued to strike at regular intervals and kept a strong hold on the Indian innings to restrict the MS Dhoni-led side to 229 despite a few missed half-chances.
With the score on 25, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan stepped out to Roach, and the bowler did well to get a hand to the ball and catch it on the second attempt. Virat Kohli, who then joined Rohit Sharma in the middle, edged a Darren Sammy delivery to Chris Gayle in the slips 14 runs later.
However, Rohit and Dinesh Karthik then carefully stitched a vital 59-run partnership. But later, Karthik hit the ball back to Marlon Samuels to depart for 23. Then, Rohit swung at a Sammy delivery only to find Johnson Charles at long-off. The opener, who had anchored the Indian innings with a diligent 60, departed with the side on 124 for four.
Dhoni then joined forces with Suresh Raina and rallied on. The duo had added 58 runs, before Raina (44) nicked Roach to the ‘keeper. With India needing quick runs, Ravindra Jadeja came to the crease. A struggling, limping Dhoni looked to add to the total with the No.7 bat, but 15 runs later, Tino Best had him bowled. And in the penultimate over, the pacer clipped Jadeja’s bails, after the batter had seen India past 200. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who then took guard, helped India to a competitive total with a six and four off Sunil Narine in the last over, which yielded 17 runs.
Meanwhile, Dhoni was unable to take the field during the WI innings and handed the gloves to Karthik. The India bowlers then made early inroads in the WI line-up. While Umesh Yadav removed Chris Gayle and Devon Smith in consecutive overs, Kumar knocked back Marlon Samuels’ off-stump to leave WI on 26 for three.
But then Charles found an able ally in Darren Bravo. The duo clubbed Jadeja for sixes while building a solid partnership and stabilising the innings. Indian stand-in skipper, Kohli, then brought back Yadav into the attack, but even he was sent sailing over the ropes by Charles, who brought up his fifty with that six. While the WI opener continued to dominate proceedings, Bravo too milked the bowlers at will as India struggled to stem the flow of runs. The partnership was eventually halted for 116, when Dhawan caught Bravo at mid-wicket off Ashwin.
After Kohli reintroduced Ishant Sharma, a superb catch by Karthik behind the stumps saw the back of Pollard. In the next over, Ashwin castled Denesh Ramdin, who had got off the mark with a boundary. With the game precariously poised on 161 for six, Sammy swung his bat around to take the pressure off WI. He smashed 29 off 25 balls, before finding Ashwin at third-man off Ishant’s bowling. Then, Charles survived a stumping in Ashwin’s last over. But with WI still 19 runs short, the opener holed out to Raina at mid-off to depart for 97, leaving the match hanging in the balance.
Kohli then brought in Raina to replace Ashwin and the part-time spinner responded with the wicket of Narine, to leave the hosts nine wickets down. However, Roach and Best took WI across the line with 14 balls to spare in what turned out to be a very close game.
Brief scores: India 229/7 in 50 overs (R Sharma 60, S Raina 44, D Sammy 2/41, K Roach 2/41) lost to West Indies 230/9 in 47.4 overs (J Charles 97, D Bravo 55, U Yadav 3/43) by 1 wicket
Man of the Match: Johnson Charles for his match-winning 97-run knock.