India beat West Indies in a low scoring Pool B match at Perth by 4 wickets. After a disciplined bowling performance by Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Co. ensured that the West Indies crumbled to 182, the batsmen stitched together useful partnerships on a tricky Perth track, to take India to victory. Mohammed Shami, the Man of the Match, was at the top of his mark once again, and finished with figures of 8-2-35-3.
West Indies bat first, lose early wickets
Jason Holder’s decision to bat first, after winning the toss, may have been influenced by the way Australia had scored 417 on the same venue just a couple of days back. However, the openers failed to vindicate the captain’s theory, when they came under the fire of the Indian bowlers. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami breathed fire at the start of the game, clocking 140 kph at will.
Dwayne Smith ultimately lost his wicket, while trying to negotiate the unplayable swing bowling of Shami. Chris Gayle looked ominous for a brief period, before he ended up mistiming a short delivery from Shami to deep square leg. Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin had to walk back with single digit scores, and West Indies were reeling at 35/4 in the 10th over.
Indian bowlers dominate, West Indies crumble
The Indian spinners came good after the pacers had done the hard work of running through the West Indian top order. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja kept it tight not allowing the West Indians to free their arms in the middle overs. Even a big hitter like Darren Sammy could only struggle to an innings of 26 off 55, before becoming the third victim of Shami. Whatsoever thrust the West Indian innings received, came right at the end, courtesy a bold half century from skipper Jason Holder. However, a score of 182 never looked promising enough, in front of the star studded Indian batting line up.
India rocked early in the chase
The Perth track showed its true colours when the Indians came into bat. The bounce which had troubled the West Indian batsmen was still intact, and viewers knew they were in for a low scoring affair. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were sent back within the 7th over, and India were pushed into a tight corner very early. Virat Kohli steadied the chase with a 43 run stand along with Ajinkya Rahane, for the 3rd wicket. Things, however, got tighter when both Kohli and Rahane were removed in quick succession, and India were left reeling at 78/4 in the 18th over.
MS Dhoni steers India to victory
The later half of the Indian innings was all about the determination of one man – MS Dhoni. In characteristic style, he anchored the wayward Indian innings and stood firm at one end. Small, but useful, contributions from Raina, Jadeja and then Ashwin made his task easier, and the West Indians soon ran out of bowling firepower to defend the small total. The Indian captain remained unbeaten on 45 off 56 balls, as India won the match in the 40th over.
Summary – India vs West Indies
Even though the Indian batting was not up to the mark, while chasing a target of 183, today’s match provided a valuable opportunity to the hitherto untested lower middle order. The batsmenship exhibited by Ravchandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on the bouncy Perth wicket inidcated that they can contribute a significant number of runs. MS Dhoni’s innings reaffirms his place as a calm finisher in cricket. On the other hand, irresponsible shot selection and inability to rotate the strike during the middle overs by the West Indian batsmen is bound to come under scrutiny in the near future.
The victory keeps the Men In Blue at the top of the table in Pool B. West Indies now have their work cut out, for the competition for the 3rd and 4th spots in Pool B is certain to intensify.
West Indies- 182 in 44.2 overs ( Jason Holder 56, Mohammed Shami 3/35)
India- 185/6 in 39.1 overs (MS Dhoni 45, Jerome Taylor 2/33)
Man of the match: Mohammed Shami