Woeful batting hands West Indies third CWC defeat
PERTH, Australia (CMC and AP):
West Indies were badly let down by sloppy batting for the second game in a row as their roller-coaster ride at the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) continued with a four-wicket defeat to India here yesterday.
Opting to bat first on a lively WACA pitch, West Indies were bundled out for 182 off 44.2 overs, and then failed to produce the magic needed to defend the meagre total, as India eased to their target off 39.1 overs.
There were some anxious moments up front, however, when fast bowler Jerome Taylor struck twice removing openers Shikhar Dhawan (9) and Rohit Sharma (7), to leave the Indians on 20 for two in the seventh over.
However, captain MS Dhoni held the innings together with an unbeaten 45 off 56 balls while stroke-maker Virat Kohli hit 33 from 36 balls, to ensure there would be no upset.
The right-handed Kohli led the early revival in a 43-run third-wicket stand with Ajinkya Rahane (14) before the cool-headed Dhoni anchored a crucial 51-run, seventh-wicket partnership with Ravi Ashwin, who finished 16 not out, to see India home.
Taylor finished with two for 33 while fellow pacer Andre Russell picked up two for 43.
Earlier, West Indies floundered badly and needed a top score of 57 from captain Jason Holder to get up to their eventual score.
With his side struggling at 124 for eight in the 36th over, Holder struck four fours and three sixes off 64 deliveries, but, more importantly, added 51 for the ninth wicket with Taylor (11), which gave West Indies precious runs at the end.
Darren Sammy had earlier chipped in with 26 while Jonathan Carter and Chris Gayle both got 21.
"We bowled well in partnerships and that created a lot of pressure," Dhoni said. "The bowlers have kept things simple and have learned to bowl a consistent length. They are hunting in packs. The contribution from all the bowlers has been superb."
India travel to New Zealand to play their last two pool matches against Ireland in Hamilton and Zimbabwe in Auckland.
Holder blamed his batsmen for not posting a challenging total.
"We just didn't bat well," said Holder. "It is tough to defend 180 on a very good batting surface, but no regrets in choosing to bat first."
The innings was undermined by seamer Mohammed Shami who finished with three for 35 to claim the Man-of-the-Match while left-arm spinner Ravi Jadeja (2-27) and pacer Umesh Yadav (2-42) supported with two wickets apiece.
With the result, India remained unbeaten in four games and on top Group B with eight points while West Indies slipped to their third defeat in five outings to lie fourth, still on four points, with a single game left against minnows United Arab Emirates in Napier on March 14.
Looking to turn the page on their horrendous 257-run defeat to South Africa in their last game, West Indies were allowed no such comfort, and were soon tottering on 35 for four in the tenth over and then 85 for seven in the 25th over.
Not for the first time in the tournament, they suffered a shambolic start, losing their openers cheaply, but, unlike previous games, their middle order failed to rescue them.
Dwayne Smith's nightmare form continued when he feathered a catch behind off fast bowler Mohammed Shami, ending a 20-ball labour over six runs with the score on eight in the fifth over.
Vice-captain Marlon Samuels followed for two in the eighth over, run out in an embarrassing mix-up, which served to characterise the Windies performance.
Gayle mistimed a pull off Yadav which fell just short of the diving Mohit at mid-on, and Samuels darted down the wicket only to find his partner ball-watching. An alert Mohit got the ball in quickly to the non-strikers end, with Samuels nowhere in sight.
Gayle released his frustration by thumping the next ball over mid-off for four and then clearing the ropes at mid-wicket with the fifth delivery of the over.
However, his flourish proved to be much ado about nothing as he tamely lobbed a pull to Mohit at deep mid-wicket off the last delivery of the next over from Mohammed Shami, to leave West Indies 35 for three.
Denesh Ramdin suffered the indignity of a first ball 'duck' when he dragged on an expansive drive at Yadav off the first ball of the next over, the 10th, leaving the Windies virtually crippled.
Carter and Lendl Simmons (9) tried to rescue the innings in a 32-run, fifth-wicket stand, but struggled to achieve fluency.