Johannesburg: India won their Group A Champions Trophy match against West Indies by 7 wickets, but still could not make it to the semi-finals as Australia spoiled their effort by winning against Pakistan earlier in the day.
After a clinical and effective performance by a beleaguered Caribbean outfit, the only thing that would sting the team was the fact that they took a bit too much time to shake off the rust in a tournament in which they had to fire-off from the first match itself.
The opening loss to Pakistan hurt them, but not as much as the washed out game against Australia, due to which they could not muster enough points for the next stage of the tourney.
Virat Kohli came as a breath of fresh air in the otherwise sad Champions Trophy campaign as he slammed a gutsy half-century. Dinesh Karthik, on the other hand, could not turn his hard work into rich rewards, getting out after scoring 34 runs.
India had started their run-chase on a disastrous note, losing the top order wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid.
It was Jo’burg madness in the first part of the Champions Trophy 2009 encounter as the Indian bowlers ripped apart the West Indian batting with panache.
The Caribbean juggernaut was halted at a mere 129 runs, with MS Dhoni bringing about some brilliant tactical moves to lead a comprehensive performance. If only they could have started the tourney with the same strategy!
Ashish Nehra was a man possessed on the field, sounding his return to form with a bang, claiming three wickets. The clinical performance of the bowlers saw West Indies lose seven wickets, barely scraping past the 100-run mark.
Scorecard: India Vs West Indies »
In one of the most surprising moves to have taken the field off-late, Dhoni donned the role of a bowler and was quite successful at that, claiming Travis Dowlin with nothing less than a dragged shot to the stumps.
His first ODI wicket also meant that half of the Caribbean team was back in the dressing room with not many runs to show.
Praveen Kumar got the skipper Floyd Reifer, out for a mere run after he had claimed Andre Fletcher. With four wickets gone and the inexperienced middle order exposed, West Indies were in real trouble, and they could never get out of it.
Nehra rattled the West Indian top order with his pace, getting Kieran Powell out with a regulation catch to the keeper and got Devon Smith too, a clear sign of his return to form.
With the team headed back home, the captain, coach and the selectors would have a lot of calculations to make for a balanced and in-form team for the upcoming tournaments. They would also hope for a speedy recovery for Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan, who are vital cogs in India’s match winning composition.
India: G Gambhir, KD Karthik, R Dravid, SK Raina, MS Dhoni*†, V Kohli, AM Nayar, A Mishra, Harbhajan Singh, A Nehra, P Kumar
West Indies ADS Fletcher†, KOA Powell, DS Smith, RT Crandon, TM Dowlin, FL Reifer*, DE Bernard, DJG Sammy, NO Miller, KAJ Roach, GC Tonge
First Published: Thursday, October 01, 2009, 08:45