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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Report: India vs West Indies - 3rd ODI, Kanpur, 2013


With a five-wicket win over West Indies in Kanpur, India claimed the three-match ODI series 2-1. Facing the 264-run target, India opener Shikhar Dhawan led the chase with a fluent 119, while Yuvraj Singh scored a half-century to set India firmly on the victory path. MS Dhoni then took India across the line with an unbeaten 23.  
Earlier, put in to bat on a foggy morning at Green Park Stadium, three half-centuries from the top order helped the visitors to 263 for five, despite a shaky start and the lack of acceleration by the batsmen in the latter stage of the innings – except for the last three overs, which yielded 41, courtesy Darren Sammy’s 29-ball 37-run cameo. Although they were kept on their toes by the Indian seamers early on, the West Indies batters continued to score steadily at over five runs-per over to set a competitive target for India. 
After his captain opted to bowl first, Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave India their first breakthrough by uprooting Johnson Charles leg-stump. But a 117-run partnership between Kieran Powell and Marlon Samuels wrested the advantage away from India. It was only in the 30th over that India ended the flourishing partnership. Powell, while attempting to sweep Ravichandran Ashwin, top-edged straight into the safe hands of Shikhar Dhawan at short fine-leg. And a few overs later, Samuels was Ashwin’s next victim. Dropped on 60 by Virat Kohli in slips, the batsman was castled by the off-spinner after adding 11 to his tally.
While Darren Bravo continued to anchor the innings, he found little support to go after the Indian attack as the innings neared completion. Lendl Simmons departed edging Ravindra Jadeja to MS Dhoni behind the stumps, while Dwayne Bravo holed out to Ashwin in the cover region. With Darren Sammy at the other end, the pair managed to add only 67 runs off the last 49 balls.
During the run-chase, India lost their two in-form batsmen, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, early in the innings. While Rohit was sent back to the dressing room after edging a Ravi Rampaul delivery to Dwayne at first slip, 32 runs later, the bowler got one to take the edge of Kohli’s bat and land in the hands of the ‘keeper.
At 61 for two, Yuvraj Singh joined Shikhar Dhawan in the middle. It was the left-handed opener’s turn to hold the innings together as India pursued a series win. With the stylish Yuvraj for company, the dashing opener kept India on top of the required run-rate as he blazed away to 50 off 43 balls. Meanwhile, at the other end, Yuvraj too gained momentum and particularly favoured the mid-wicket region to hit his share of boundaries.
There was little that the visitors could do as the left-handed pair milked the bowlers effortlessly. While Yuvraj inched towards his 50, Dhawan marched towards his century with aplomb.
However, the flow of runs was stemmed by Sunil Narine. The off-spinner, who tormented the middle order, had Yuvraj edge one to the slips and depart for 55.
Another left-hander, Suresh Raina, replaced him to take the innings forward as India closed in on the target. With the hosts still 46 runs adrift, Dhawan’s knock came to an end as the opener hit the ball back to Dwayne to walk back for 119. And five overs later, with the home team coasting, Raina was sent back by Dwayne for 34 bringing Ravindra Jadeja to the middle. The India captain and the all-rounder then attained the target with 23 balls to spare.
Man of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan for his match-winning 119
Man of the Series: Virat Kohli for scoring a total of 204 runs in 3 innings at 68.00, including two half-centuries
Dhoni: "Once you win the toss and field, it is important to restrict the opponents. We bowled well, but were unlucky, some edges did not carry, there were lots of play-and-misses. 280 becomes quite a big score. I felt it was not a normal Kanpur wicket, it was much better to bat on. That is why 260 seemed just below a par score. If you compare the Australia series to the kind of death bowling we did today... even if we were missing the yorkers, it was not by much, they were ending up as low full tosses, that is a big improvement for us. Also the middle overs, the two spinners, and Raina, is a big positive. The openers gave a very good start, Virat has been in form, and we have finished well with the lower order."
Virat Kohli is the Man of the Series. Kohli: "Just trying to make the most of the sort of form I am in now. Trying to stay in the zone. Been coming off well, but the most important month for us is coming now in South Africa, so good to get a few runs before going there. I try to score as many as I can, staying in a nice happy space. We have scored a lot of runs, all of us that is why we are ODI No 1 right now. [South Africa] is a challenge, this team likes a challenge, I think we are good enough to stand up to it, and won't disappoint our fans."
Shikhar Dhawan is the Man of the Match. Dhawan: "It has been a great year for me. We usually play on these kind of tracks in Delhi and I am used to playing on them. I knew there would not be much bounce and the drives were on. Happy with my form, the team is doing great."
Dwayne Bravo: "We did very well [with the bat], Sammy played a fantastic innings, can't forget the innings of Samuels. We lost a few wickets. At 260, we should have given a better bowling effort. We did not start well [with the ball]. Simmons and I getting out at crucial times, we could have capitalised better. Chasing 280 instead of 260 could have been a different ball game."
Yuvraj: "I've been batting well but not getting enough runs. Shikhar was batting well so I thought I would spend some time in the middle. Wicket was a bit two paced at the start but it got easier as the game progressed. The runs are going to come, you have to make sure you are there at the tough times. Good to see Raina spending some time in the middle too. Virat and Rohit are doing very well. Very happy for Shikhar, he has scored lots of runs in domestic cricket, and has matured."


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