Friday, March 6, 2015

India Edge Out West Indies in a Low Scoring Encounter

India vs West Indies, WACA Stadium in Perth on 6th March 2015 - Match Review

India beat West Indies by 4 Wickets.

It was a beautiful sunny day at Perth and with Australia having smashed over 400 just a few days ago against Afghanistan, the pitch looked a belter. Another high scoring game was in the offing but the bowlers from both the sides decided to have some fun of their own! West Indies won the toss and they decided to bat first.

The West Indian openers, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith are on most occasions pretty slow starters and they take their time settling in before trying their shots. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami, who was returning back to the side after missing the last game were getting the ball to zip around with some extra bounce as well. They were getting lots of help from the 'Freemantle Doctor' Wind and it was tough going for both the West Indies openers.

Dwayne Smith, after getting a working over from Shami finally nicked one behind to Dhoni. Marlon Samuels dawdled for a few balls and with Gayle too not finding any runs they were getting twitchy in the middle. Gayle mistimed a pull which fell just short of a diving Mohit at mid-on but a terrible breakdown in communication saw Samuels get run out as Gayle was just ball watching. That woke up Gayle and he launched Yadav and Shami for a couple of fours and sixes but was out caught pulling Shami soon after. Ramdin departed first ball, Simmons, Carter and Russel also departed without making any dent in the Indian bowling figures. But the West Indian captain Jason Holder added 39 for the 8th wicket with Darren Sammy and then 51 with Jerome Taylor for the 9th wicket as he completed his half century. He was the last man out to Ravindra Jadeja and West Indies were all out for 182.

Mohammed Shami took 3-35 as he broke the back of the West Indian batting, 
he won the Man Of the Match Award for his efforts.

During the innings break, the West Indian team were given a rousing pep talk by their fast bowling coach and one of my all time favorite players, Curtly Ambrose. The great fast bowler had once taken 7-1 against Australia at this very ground and surely his talk must have fired up the West Indian quicks. Jerome Taylor and Jason Holder swung the ball prodigiously and Rohit and Dhawan bot found it very hard to score runs. They were beaten numerous times before Dhawan finally nicked one to 2nd slip off Taylor. Rohit too nicked behind and both the Indian openers were back in the hutch for single digit scores with India at 20-2 after 7 overs.

Kohli and Rahane were then peppered with short balls from both Kemar Roach and Andre Russel but they were also fed a few deliveries on the pads which took the pressure off the Indians. Kohli played and missed severel deliveries before falling to the short ball from Russel. Rahane got a feather behind and Raina was also caught behind off the part time bowling of Dwayne Smith. Jadeja fell to a scorching short ball from Russel and India were in some strife at 134-6 still needing 50 runs to win the game. There were a few nervy moments for Dhoni and Ashwin but as they got closer to the target the West Indians slacked in their approach and in the end the Indians won by 4 wickets with more than 10 overs to spare.

Having won all its games, against Pakistan, South Africa, UAE and West Indies thus far, India must easily top the Pool B now. They play Ireland and Zimbabwe in their last two games. West Indies have 4 points and they have a game against UAE which they should win. This group is very tight and we could very well have a three way tie between West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland. West Indies's loss to Ireland could bite them big time if things do not go well for them.

PS - The image used is courtesy www.espncricinfo.com

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