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India beat West Indies : ICC Cricket World Cup : Dr. Nilesh D. Mehta


India beat West Indies :

An unexpected loss by West Indies to Ireland by 4 wickets was followed by a comprehensive win against Pakistan by 150 runs. After having beaten Zimbabwe by 73 runs, West Indies received a wake up call after they were routed by South Africa. Jason Holder, West Indies captain, and his teammates had to deal with an in-form and a confident India team, having won three matches on the trot, on a wicket that was sure to aid the quick bowlers in Perth.

Prior to this match, ex-skipper Darren Sammy was quoted as saying, “India can celebrate Holi, we will celebrate win”. Much to Sammy’s chagrin, India not only celebrated Holi with pomp but also registered their fourth win in this ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

West Indies elected to bat first after winning the toss at the WACA in Perth. Chris Gayle disappointed an anemic but boisterous West Indian crowd in Perth with a poor performance. West Indies have struggled with their openers particularly Dwayne Smith who has failed to impress in this World Cup. Mix up between two senior cricketers led to the downfall of Marlon Samuels when Chris Gayle stood his ground after hitting a ball on the onside. Gayle has been criticized for not showing interest in taking singles and going for glory with fours and sixes. He tried to hook Mohammed Shami off the last delivery of his fifth over and skied a straightforward catch to Mohit Sharma. West Indies were reduced to a paltry 7-85 as the Indian pacers bowled a good line and length on a bouncy wicket that was predicted to assist pace bowlers.

On his television expert analysis, an exasperated Michael Holding commented, “ problem that West Indian cricket is having is too many of our cricketers are playing cricket and not thinking cricket”. Jason Holder played a cameo with his half century to give West Indies some respectability with a score of 182. All five India bowlers made Dhoni proud with each of them getting into the action and scalping West Indian wickets. Mohammed Shami, man of the match, was rewarded with 3-35 for his well-planned attack. Once feared by rest of the cricketing world, this West Indies team seemed just a shadow of their previously successful teams. Granted they do miss some of their stalwarts who are back in the islands for political and financial reasons, the current bunch failed to step up to the plate.

India received their initial scare of the World Cup when West Indies reduced them to 78 for 4 and subsequently to 134 for 6 in a chase of 183. After losing both openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma for a mere 20 runs, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were left to steady the innings with a 43 run partnership before Kohli fell to a well directed bouncer of Andre Russell. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (45) and Ravichandran Ashwin (16) doggedly ensured that there were no more hiccups in the India’s chase as the duo stitched together a meaningful partnership of 42 runs to bring India home that gave them their fourth consecutive victory in the tournament. It was India’s eighth consecutive win in World Cups, equaling their previous longest streak.

They will now the cross the Tasman sea to land in New Zealand for their last two pool fixtures against Zimbabwe and Ireland. With today’s win, India is guaranteed a quarter final berth in the ICC Cricket World Cup. With the next two opponents, India would be expected to win comfortably given their current form to hopefully end the initial stages of the event at an enviable 6-0.