Cricket amit mishraDespite heroics by Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli, India played a second fiddle to the touring West Indian side who looked like winning the game until the 29th over of their 264-run chase. With Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard in full flow until 128/1 and 6 required of each remaining over, it was really the West Indies’ game. Smith had already gone past his highest score in ODIs and Pollard looked determined. In addition, nine wickets were still intact. Just when everything pointed in West Indies’ favor, Kieron Pollard chased Amit Mishra’s wide ball and dragged it on his stumps. This was the turning point of the match, although last match’s hero Samuels added 34 runs for the third wicket with Smith, the required run rate had already begun to ascend. Suddenly everything changed as India’s toothless bowling, thus far, started to look ominous. Needless caution and invented fear gripped the successive West Indies batsmen and wickets began to tumble. In the end, India won the match by 48 runs much to the delight of a huge gathering at Delhi’s Firozshah Kotla Ground. The series stand squared 1-1 with three games remaining at Vishakhapatnam, Dharamsala and Kolkata.

In a surprising move, MS Dhoni elected to bat after winning the toss. It looked like a team decision because Dhoni personally believes in chases. The start of India innings was less than inspiring as they lost the mercurial Shikhar Dhawan in the second over itself. Jerome Taylor produced a fine delivery and Dhawan was clearly beaten by the pace as he shuffled across the line and left a large gap between his bat and pad with the ball going through to hit his off stump. Ambati Rayudu came ahead of Kohli at the fall of Dhawan’s wicket. But an early loss weighed in the minds of Rahane and Rayudu and though they carried the score to 50, 11.1 overs were consumed between them. Rahane fell at that score after a laborious 12 off 28 balls. It was a sad and soft dismissal to a slower ball from Sammy as Rahane played weakly and too early to spoon a simple catch to Bravo in the covers. It was now that Kohli came to the crease to join Rayudu. In the 18th over, Rayudu also fell after consuming 54 balls for 32 runs, when Sulieman Benn angled an off-side delivery that Rayudu tried to push hard but all he got was an outside edge and Sammy completed a smart catch in the slips. At 74/3, things looked bleak for India but Kohli and new man Suresh Raina played matured innings and compiled 105 for the fourth wicket at a good rate in a little over 19 overs. Raina fell at 179 for a 60-ball 62 but Kohli continued, although he was slow from his own standards. When Kohli got out, he had also made 62 but he had taken 78 balls. At the other end was skipper Dhoni, who kept scoring at a brisk pace. He saw the departure of Kohli in the 41st over; Ravindra Jadeja in the 46th over and Bhuvi Kumar in the 49th over as India ended with 263/7 in 50 overs. Dhoni remained unbeaten for a 40-ball 51.

West Indies began chasing 264 for victory with openers Dwayne Smith and Darren Bravo. The two batsmen added 64 for the first wicket in 13.1 overs, before Bravo was bowled by Mohammed Shami. It was a good delivery that straightened after pitching and took the bails off. Kieron Pollard joined Smith, who was playing really well. The two batsmen scored at a brisk pace and carried the score to 128. Suddenly, there was panic in the Indian ranks as Smith and Pollard dealt with Indian bowling with utmost ease. Amit Mishra, who didn’t have a great game at Kochi, brought the breakthrough, when Pollard played Mishra’s wider delivery on his stumps. The next man to join Smith was Marlon Samuels, who had thrashed the Indian bowlers at Kochi. Smith and Samuels added 34 for the third wicket but they had slowed down the run-rate. Smith fell at the score of 170 after making the career-best 97 off 97 balls with 11 fours and 2 sixes. Soon after Smith, Samuels also got out after facing 38 balls and scoring just 16 runs. The complexion of the game was completely changed at this stage and India’s bowlers looked like dominating the West Indies. With all recognized batsmen resting in the pavilion, it became quite difficult for the West Indian batsmen to step up the scoring as the asking rate mounted alarmingly. Ravindra Jadeja picked up two wickets in the 43rd over and batsmen found it tough to stay at the crease. From 183/4 in the 40th over, the entire West Indies side succumbed to 215 in the 47th as India won the match by 48 runs.