India put up yet another clinical display to tank defending champions West Indies with a commanding seven-wicket victory in a group league encounter to brighten their chance of a semi-final berth in the ICC World Twenty20. (Scorecard and Commentary)
It was an authoritative all-round performance from India as they first restricted the West Indies to a modest 129 for seven and then knocked off the runs with two balls to spare.
Virat faced 41 balls hitting five fours and a six while Rohit’s knock contained five fours and two sixes in 55 balls.
This was after Indian spinners led by man-of-the-match Amit Mishra kept the West Indies batting under tight check.
This was also the first time that India beat West Indies at a World T20 event. (Full Coverage ICC World Twenty20)
With back to back wins over Pakistan and West Indies, India are now on top of Group 2 and a win over Bangladesh would clinch a last-four berth for the ‘Men In Blue’ for the first time since the inaugural edition in 2007.
The chase was delayed by 10 minutes due to a confusion about the target. But once the match started, only blip was Shikhar Dhawan (0) being adjudged lbw off leg-break bowler Samuel Badree.
Kohli and Rohit were not in a mood to delay the proceedings as they tore apart the West Indies bowlers with some clean hitting.
Rohit picked up Sunil Narine for some special treatment as he lofted him over long-off for a six. The second six was a half-tracker that was pulled over deep mid-wicket boundary.
Kohli started with a four and then pulled Badree over deep mid-wicket for a six. After that, there was no stopping for the Indian batsmen as both matched each other stroke for stroke during their 106-run partnership for the second wicket with century of the stand coming in only 74 balls.
Earlier, Indian spinners yet again put on a dominating show as they restricted West Indies to a modest total.
Amit Mishra again performed admirably as he was the pick of the Indian bowlers with fantastic figures of two for 18 while Ravichandran Ashwin (1/24) also kept the batsmen under tight leash with his leg-stump line.
Ravindra Jadeja (3/48) took some stick from Lendl Simmons (27) but should also be lauded for getting important breakthroughs. Team India’s spin trio accounted for six of the seven wickets that fell during the innings.
Chris Gayle (34) was the top scorer but was not at all in his element as the other West Indies batsmen showed their ineptness against a quality spin attack.
But no one can take any credit away from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who bowled a brilliant first-spell inside the six Powerplay overs which yielded only 24 runs. His three-over spell read an astonishing 3-0-3-0 with 16 dot balls against a crack pair of Gayle and Dwayne Smith.
Smith in fact was repeatedly beaten trying to get a feel of Bhuvneshwar’s outswingers as there was relentless pressure on the Caribbean batsmen from the onset.
At the other end, Gayle was lucky to survive a scare even before opening his account. He tried to flash hard at a length ball from Shami and an easy catch was dropped by Ravichandran Ashwin at first slip.
Gayle tried to make up for it in Shami’s next over as he hit him for a six over long on and then punched him through vacant mid-wicket region for a boundary. When Mishra was introduced into the attack, Gayle welcomed him with a six. It was his routine “stand and deliver” six over long on.
But the leggie was distinctly unlucky when he varied his length and bowled a fuller delivery next up. Gayle tried the slog sweep and it was one of the easiest of skiers that was dropped by none other than Yuvraj Singh. He made a mess of it by completely misjudging the catch. The batsman was on 19 then.
Ashwin meanwhile redeemed himself as he got an out of sorts Smith who couldn’t pick up a carom ball and the return catch was taken by the bowler by covering some distance. Smith could only manage 11 off 29 balls.
West Indies completed their 50 in 10.4 overs but Gayle despite the two reprieves wasn’t able to break free. He and Samuels played a few singles trying to get into the groove before a horrible mix-up saw Gayle trudge back towards dug-out.
Samuels cut Mishra and went for a non-existent single only to find one of India’s better fielders in Rohit Sharma.
Rohit threw the ball to Dhoni who had backed up behind the stumps as Gayle was at the midway through his single.
His 33-ball-34 had a boundary and two huge sixes.
Mishra then got Samuels out with a flighted delivery as the batsman gave him charge and missed the leg-break. Dhoni completed easiest of stumpings. Dwayne Bravo (0) got a first-ball googly as it spun back sharply to find his pads as West Indies were reduced to 74 for four.
Mishra was on a hat-trick which opposition skipper Darren Sammy averted. But West Indies’ chances of getting a big score had ended by then.