India claimed its second successive win of the Champions Trophy as it beat the West Indies by eight wickets on Tuesday. The win means India is the first team to qualify for the semi-finals and Pakistan is knocked out. India is looking like the team to watch. BY ANTOINETTE MULLER.
There were only two surprises in the match between India and the West Indies on Tuesday. Firstly, that India made adequate use of the Decision Review System; secondly, that it took so long for rain to properly interrupt a match. The rain wasn’t enough to help the Windies, though, as they were beaten by eight wickets at The Oval.
Other than that, it was an expected victory for India, and made them the first side to qualify or the semi-finals of the competition – having knocked Pakistan out. It was the kind of performance expected from the current World Champions, and while it might be over-zealous to tip them as favourites, they are certainly looking like one of the most impressive sides of the tournament.
Winning the toss and choosing to field first under overcast skies with heavy humidity, India couldn’t have got off to a better start than dismissing Chris Gayle. Gayle looked in good touch, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the prize-scalp with some crafty bowling and, perhaps, by playing on his ego.
Gaye tried to a cut a short of length ball and ended up getting a top edge to first slip as he departed for 21 off 18. The Windies looked lost at sea from there on, and despite Johnson Charles’ knock of 60 off 55, the islanders slumped to 140-5 in 33.1 overs as nobody managed to make their starts count.
Darren Sammy, returning after being dropped, played a vital cameo towards the end of the match, hitting an unbeaten 56 off 35. It included a blitz off Ishant Sharma with a four, six, four, six two-step to ruin the quick’s figures in one over. He took Jadeja to town in similar fashion, perhaps proving that with a bit of brain and a bit of confidence, India’s dangermen can be conquered. Sadly, though, Sammy is no one-man army, and the Windies had to settle for a below par total of 233-9.
Ravi Jadeja was in superb form for India, and put on a dazzling display of spin bowling finishing with figures of 10-2-36-5, a spell which earned him a man of the match award. He does well with skidding the ball onto the pads of batsmen, often resulting in leg-before decisions, and he follows it up with superb stump-to-stump bowling.
India’s batting was as silky smooth as ever, with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan quickly allowing everyone to forget that Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag ever even played for India. Dhawan collected his second hundred on the trot, an unbeaten 102 off 107, brought up with such a vast array of shots and played with such finesse that no one would ever guess he’s a rookie who has played just six one-day internationals.
Sharma did equally well at the other end, with 52 off 56, and although Virat Kohli flopped, Dinesh Karthik did the rest and added 51 off 54 to hand India a thumping win with 65 balls still to spare.
The result means when the Windies meet South Africa on Friday in Cardiff, it’s a knock-out for a semi-finals place – and the Windies’ skipper Dwayne Bravo is relishing the challenge.
“Those games are some of the best games to play, to be honest, where the destiny is in our own hands, and it’s important we forget what happened today. We just have to improve on our mistakes we made in this game, and look forward to the next game,” said Bravo.
The Proteas bounced back strongly from defeat in their first match, and despite being depleted through injury, they performed well against Pakistan. Bravo insists there’ll be no taking them lightly.
“South Africa is very good team and very respected. We just have to make sure that when we turn up on Friday, we are all ready to play, and it’s going to be like a final for us. I know I have the right team and the right guys to turn around between now and Friday. Let’s see what happens… It’s going to be a very exciting game for the tournament,” he added. DM
Photo: India’s Shikhar Dhawan celebrates as he reaches his century during the ICC Champions Trophy group B match against the West Indies at The Oval cricket ground, London England June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown
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