India 311 for 7 (Kohli 102, Dhawan 69, Rohit 46) beat West Indies 171 (Charles 45, Bhuvneshwar 3-29, Yadav 3-32) by 102 runs by D/L Method
Port-of-Spain : After a listless performance against Sri Lanka, where they were trounced in all departments, there was a feeling that India had lost its intensity and drive after the highs of the Champions Trophy. However, against a different opponent and at a new venue, none of those weaknesses were on show. Virat Kohli led by example with a blistering 102 off 83 balls to lift India to an imposing 311 before the seamers turned a new leaf and consigned the match to a no-contest even before the halfway stage. West Indies struggled either side of a lengthy rain delay and at no stage were they allowed to mount any kind of resistance.
The Indian seamers drew plenty of criticism against Sri Lanka, failing to pick up any. Following the rain delay, they attacked as a pack, getting the ball to bounce, nip and keeping the batsmen in check. They helped seal the game in comprehensive fashion, restricting West Indies to well under 219 to bag the bonus point and open up the tournament.
It wasn’t a bad toss to lose for India after they were put in to bat on a pitch that had a layer of grass. Dwayne Bravo had plenty of expectations from his bowlers, but the wait for the first wicket lasted 23 overs, by which time the Indian openers had added a healthy 123. It provided the platform for Kohli, who built a skyscraper in quick time to push the score past 300 in a frenzied assault against pace and spin.
Shikhar Dhawan showed class when driving through the off side, punishing width and bisecting a packed off side-ring that included an extra cover. The powerful square drives, missing against Sri Lanka, reappeared today. Rohit Sharma was in good touch with his drives through cover and it was he who gave the innings momentum after a watchful first three overs.
Dhawan fell clipping the ball to deep midwicket but India then went off the radar, losing four wickets for 45 when it was time for consolidation. Both Kemar Roach and Tino Best picked up wickets to lift West Indies, but it was a matter of time before India snatched back the initiative.
Kohli, and the demoted M Vijay, helped India add a breezy 42 in the Powerplay. The seamers tried bouncing the batsmen again but Kohli negotiated the short stuff with ease and his confidence seemed to rub off on Vijay, who feasted on some poor bowling.
Vijay’s dismissal, caught at backward point, and Ravindra Jadeja’s run-out raised West Indies’ hopes of possibly wrapping up the innings within 50 overs, but R Ashwin and Kohli upset those plans. The West Indies seamers were shoddy with their lengths, bowling far too short and allowing Kohli in particular enough time to find the gaps on the leg side. Bravo himself was no less guilty, leaking 17 in his sixth over. The yorkers were nonexistent and when the bowlers resorted to bowling short, they were pulled and slashed down to third man. Kohli brought up his 14th ODI century with a push wide of midwicket and in the process gave his bowlers a strong total to try and redeem themselves after the Sri Lanka hammering.
West Indies were denied a strong start when they lost their biggest hitter, Chris Gayle, cheaply. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, back after missing the previous game, showed how much India had missed him. Bowling over the wicket to Gayle, he got the ball to move away and a circumspect Gayle merely poked his bat out, edging to Dinesh Karthik. Bhuvneshwar then changed his angle to Darren Bravo, pitched it up and induced a drive. It was wide outside off but Bravo didn’t move across enough to get behind the line and ended up edging to first slip. After completing the shot, his head was still facing cover.
Rain intervened after the 10th over, forcing the players off the field for an hour and a half. The target was then revised to 274 off 39 overs, adding further pressure on the batsmen. Marlon Samuels looked out of sorts against Ishant Sharma, and after surviving a confident appeal for caught behind off a delivery that lifted, edged the next ball to the keeper. Bhuvneshwar got one to kick up, forcing Kieron Pollard to slash to slip for a golden duck, before Ishant got Johnson Charles to top edge to square leg. Charles was the only batsman to show some aggression, scoring 45 off 39, but his dismissal had all but squeezed out West Indies’ hopes. Umesh Yadav nipped out three quick wickets to hasten India’s march to victory.