Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Shami lead India to safety as the defending champs reserve their Quarter Finals berth by winning against West Indies in match no. 28 of CWC15.
The Indian bowlers put up an inspired show to land crucial blows at regular intervals and skittle out the opposition ranks for a modest total. It was Mohammed Shami, who bowled with unremitting control and used the breeze that was blowing from left to right to generate a bit of inswing and take wickets upfront.
Once Shami gave India a rousing start, the likes of Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin followed up his efforts by bowling with diligence and discipline to put India in a position of strength. Shami started on a good note by keeping West Indies’ opening batsmen, Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle in check. Smith looked to play a slew of pull shots, but he couldn’t connect any of them. Smith’s tendency to premeditate didn’t help his cause.
Shami eventually, bowled a nip-backer to produce the edge and dismiss Smith. Smith’s opening partner, Gayle, looked to play himself in before playing a few shots. In particular, Gayle took a heavy toll off Umesh’s bowling by clobbering him for a four and a six in the eighth over of the innings. Gayle though, gifted his wicket away, as Shami dismissed him with a short delivery. He also was involved in a terrible mix up with Marlon Samuels and unfortunately for the Windies, Samuels was run out.
After Gayle and Samuels were dismissed, West Indies continued to wallow in mediocrity. Darren Sammy, who was dropped by Ravindra Jadeja, and Jason Holder tried to hold the innings together. Holder even struck some meaty blows and amassed a fine fifty. But it has to be said that the West Indies ended up with a below par score. For India, Shami took three wickets.
Umesh, who bowled a good burst of pace snared two wickets.The Indian coaching staff would be gladdened by the near perfect execution of the short ball tactic. The pacers have rarely wasted the short ball in this World Cup, as they have usually bowled it head high and outside the off-stump. At the other end of the spectrum, despite Holder and Sammy taking the West Indies to a score of some respectability, they were disappointing. None of the batsmen looked to get used to the pace and bounce on offer at the WACA and hardly played the ball late. Their running between the wickets was poor too.
Just when everyone thought that India would cruise towards victory, the West Indies’ pacers bowled with fire to give the Indian camp jitters. In particular, Jerome Taylor, bursting forth with athletic brilliance and immense self-belief, caused the batsmen problems. Taylor zipped through the crease quickly and generated prodigious swing to snare the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. He bowled a superb length and that resulted in Rohit and Dhawan getting caught in the crease. In fact, it swung for around 20 overs for the West Indies.
Andre Russell and Kemar Roach backed up Taylor’s fine effort by taking the wickets of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, respectively. Suresh Raina, who was welcomed to the crease with a barrage of short stuff then was dismissed by Dwayne Smith. Russell used the short ball to snare the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja as well.
Indian captain Dhoni though, yet again played with a level head on his shoulders to soothe the jangling nerves in the Indian set-up. Holder perhaps missed a trick by not bringing Taylor earlier into the attack for his second spell. When India needed about 20 runs to win, Holder surprisingly used the part-timers. The West Indies also allowed the batsmen to take easy singles.
Mohammed Shami was adjudged Man of the Match.
More importantly, the Blue Brigade will be high on confidence as they leave Australia unbeaten for New Zealand for their remaining 2 matches of group stages against Ireland and Zimbabwe.
West indies 183 for 10 in 44.2 overs
India 185 for 6 in 39.1 overs