With a nine-wicket against the United Arab Emirates at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground in Perth, India continued their winning streak in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. This is the first time that India have won their first three matches in a World Cup.
After UAE elected to bat, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed the openers to leave them on 13 for two. Ravichandran Ashwin then wrecked the middle-order to put India in commanding position. The off-spinner returned with his best ODI figures, 4 for 25, Yadav claimed 2 for 15 and Ravindra Jadeja picked 2 for 23 to help wrap up the opposition for a meager 102 runs. Rohit Sharma (57*) then took India across the line with a 75-run unbroken stand with Virat Kohli.
Yadav hit the deck hard from the word go and struck in his first over to send back opener Andri Raffaelo. The bouncer took the top edge of the bat through to the wicketkeeper. In his next, the pacer would have had Amjad Ali back in the pavilion too with the short ball had Suresh Raina been able to hold on to the catch at leg-slip. It was a tough chance and the fielder had done well to get a hand to the ball that went high in the air but couldn’t hold on as it bounced off his palm. However, Ali didn’t last much longer and departed attempting to hook a bouncer from Bhuvneshwar in the next over. The ball grazed the bat and was caught by MS Dhoni behind the wickets.
The pacers had kept the batsmen on their toes with judicious use of the short ball. While the bouncer fetched India both the openers upfront, Ashwin followed up with three more to leave the opposition on 44 for 5.
Krishna Karate gloved Ashwin to the leg-slip to leave the side on 28 for three in the 11th over. And four overs later the off-spinner accounted for Swapnil Patil with the arm-ball. Shikhar Dhawan took a low catch diving to his right. In the spinner’s next over, the ball took the top edge of Khurram Khan’s bat, went up in the air and Raina caught the offering with ease.
With half the side back in the pavilion Rohan Mustafa joined Shaiman Anwar and returned to the dressing room three overs later. The middle-order bat was trapped leg-before by Mohit Sharma for two runs.
The batsmen couldn’t resurrect the innings as wickets continued to fall in quick succession. Amjad Javed, who came out bat with the team reeling on 52 for 6, departed nicking Jadeja to Raina in the slips. The left-arm spinner, who had replaced Mohit, struck in his first over to add to UAE’s woes.
With the team in danger of being bowled out before reaching the three-figure mark, Mohammad Naveed took guard and got off the mark with a six. But in the next over, found his stumps disrupted by Ashwin.
With the side tottering on 68 for eight in 22.3 overs, Mohammad Tauqir joined Anwar in the middle. The UAE skipper too didn’t last long and was bowled by Jadeja in the following over.
Manjula Guruge who then joined Anwar helped take the side past 100 in the highest stand of the innings. But a ball after the middle-order batsman had edged Yadav between the wicketkeeper and the slip to take the team past 100 with a boundary, the partnership was ended 31. The pacer knocked on Anwar’s off and middle stump to bowl him and the side out.
Chasing the paltry total, Rohit got India off the mark with a boundary through cover point. While the openers dealt in boundaries to garner runs at a steady pace, Rohit top-edged Guruge over backward square-leg for the first six of the innings.
However, after striking Naveed past square-leg for four, Dhawan departed off the next ball. Mustafa pulled off a one-handed catch jumping high at backward point to send back the left-hand batsman. In the bowler’s next over he was pulled twice to the boundary and sent racing to the ropes past mid-off by Rohit. Kohli then punched the ball through covers to take India to fifty in the following over.
The Rohit-Kohli pair continued to pilfer runs off the UAE attack with ease. The No. 3 bat smacked Javed through mid-wicket and Karate and was sent packing through covers as they took India to 72. Rohit drove Tauqir for successive boundaries to take the partnership past fifty in the following over.
With 15 runs required for an Indian victory the teams went in for dinner. Opting for powerplay on resuming the innings, India picked nine of the first over after the break as Rohit struck Tauqir past point to reach his half-century. And with a boundary off the opener’s bat an over later, India galloped over the finish line.
UAE 102 all out in 31.3 overs (S Anwar 35, R Ashwin 4/25, U Yadav 2/15, R Jadeja 2/23) lost to India 104/1 in 18.5 overs (R Sharma 57*, V Kohli 33*) by nine wickets
Man of the Match: R Ashwin for his match-winning figures of 10-1-25-4