Ravindra Jadeja broke the back of the West Indies batting with a career-best five-wicket haul before Darren Sammy provided the late flourish to lift West Indies to 233 for nine in a group B Champions Trophy match against India here on Tuesday.
At one stage crossing the 200-run mark looked difficult for the West Indies as they were reeling at 179 for eight, but Sammy played a blistering knock, which had five fours and four sixes, to give the bowlers something to fight for.
Sammy creamed paceman Ishant Sharma for 21 runs in the penultimate over, hitting him for two fours and as many sixes, as West Indies scored 51 runs off the last four overs.
West Indies had made a decent start, reaching 103 for one in about 20 overs but Jadeja (5/36) picked up three West Indian wickets in a space of 14 balls which proved to be the turning point of the innings.
The wicket of opener Johnson Charles to Jadeja after scoring a classy 60, opened the floodgates as West Indies slid from 103 for two to 109 for four wickets.
Given the overcast conditions, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to field after winning the toss on an Oval track that was used for the low-scoring Pakistan versus West Indies game on Friday.
But only Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled the right length from the Pavilion End with the new ball. Umesh Yadav, from the Vauxhall End, was expensive conceding 11 in his first over and was promptly taken off.
The West Indian openers looked to be settling down quickly as Chris Gayle scored three lovely boundaries, including a couple of exquisite ones off Yadav at mid-wicket.
Dhoni had marked out the left-handed Jamaican as the dangerman in the West Indian camp and it was Bhuvneshwar, who answered his captain’s call for an early breakthrough.
Gayle was the first to go, chasing an angling Bhuvneshwar delivery outside off-stump. The healthy edge was brilliantly taken by the tall Ravichandran Ashwin at first slip. Gayle scored 21 off 18 balls and hit four boundaries.
Charles, who has scored two centuries in his first 12 ODIs after making his debut in 2012, looked to be in promising touch. The right-handed 24-year-old from Windward Islands took time to settle down but once he gauged the pace of the wicket, scored freely. Charles’ 78-run partnership with Darren Bravo kept the pressure on Dhoni, who rotated his bowlers and even introduced the part-time medium pace of Virat Kohli in the 13th over. But it was Jadeja’s introduction from the Vauxhall End that spun West Indies’ doom.
After enjoying a life at 32, when Ashwin missed a difficult caught and bowled chance, Charles was finally out LBW to Jadeja for a 55-ball 60 with eight fours and two sixes. Jadeja’s next scalp was the in-form Samuels, who scored just 1 run. The Indians successfully saw their appeal for an LBW upheld after a review by the TV umpire. Ramnaresh Sarwan continued his poor run as he nicked a Jadeja ball for Dhoni held a smart catch.
The sixth-wicket partnership between skipper Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard threatened to take the game away from India. Both batsmen, adept in the art of stroke making, adopted some Indian Premier League strategy. Pollard’s first two scoring shots were sixes off Ashwin. But this belligerence was too good to last.
Dwayne and Pollard fell to big strokes after putting on 23 off 28 balls. Bravo (25) was caught at deep square leg, pulling a Yadav ball right into the hands of Jadeja.
Pollard tried to muscle a fuller ball from Ishant but could not cross Bhuvneshwar at long on. Pollard managed 22 off 32 balls.
Sammy missed support from No. 9 and 10 as Sunil Narine and Ravi Rampaul gifted their wickets cheaply. Plundering 21 runs off Ishant’s 10th over, Sammy, was unbeaten on 56 off 35 balls, and took West Indies past the 200-mark.
West Indies: 233 for nine in 50 overs. (Johnson Charles 60, Darren Sammy 56 not out, Darren Bravo 35; Ravindra Jadeja 5/36).
India: MS Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav.
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (C), Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul.