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  • India v West Indies, World T20

India seal seven-wicket win over

The Report by Sidharth Monga
March 23, 2014 « Praying for Wenger to stay | Test Wayin World Cup »

India 130 for 3 (Rohit 62*, Kohli 54) beat West Indies 129 for 7 (Gayle 34, Jadeja 3-48, Mishra 2-18, Bhuvneshwar 0-3) by 7 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Chris Gayle played his slowest 30-ball innings © Getty Images
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West Indies have been in Bangladesh for a week, but they still looked jetlagged in a bizarre innings of 129 for 7, which set up another comprehensive win for India, who were excellent with the ball. From the moment Bhuvneshwar Kumar surprised Dwayne Smith with a first over full of outswingers, West Indies sleepwalked through most of their innings, failing to make India pay for some sloppy fielding. India will be only mildly annoyed with that because of the stupendous work done by their bowlers. Bhuvneshwar set the template with the most economic figures in Twenty20 internationals - 3-0-3-0, Shami kept the pressure up at the other end, R Ashwin bowled out pretty early to make sure that pressure pushed West Indies to the breaking point, and then Amit Mishra applied the coup de grâce with the wickets of Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo off successive deliveries.

Without taking away from how well India bowled, it was an incredibly passive effort from West Indies. Despite 14 runs contributed by extras West Indies were 46 for 1 after 10 overs, Chris Gayle's 34 off 33 was his slowest 30-or-more-ball knock, Dwayne Smith prodded and fumbled around for 11 off 29, and the rest crumbled under the pressure of needing more than 100 in the last 10 to even be competitive when the dew would come in. All this despite two dropped catches: Gayle on 0 and 19.

There was something special about India's bowling at the top, especially Bhuvneshwar. Every time he bowled full to Smith, he looked like he would get a wicket. In the lead-up to the match, Suresh Raina had spoken about how West Indies struggle to get the runs when the big sixes are not forthcoming. Darren Sammy said, okay stop us hitting for the sixes. Only six sixes were hit in the innings, and the singles were miserably low.

When those sixes were hit, as Gayle did as soon as legspinner Mishra was introduced, it involved a huge risk. Be that as it may, when you are 24 after six overs, with your partner struggling to get bat on ball, you are under the pressure to take those risks. The first one brought Gayle a six, but Mishra's wrong'un next ball should have had him. Yuvraj Singh joined Ashwin as Gayle's benefactor, but an extended spell of disciplined bowling from Ashwin - overs 6, 8, 10 and 12 for 24 runs - made sure Gayle didn't benefit much at all.

With no bad balls on offer, both Gayle and Marlon Samuels were handcuffed. The two are the last pair you want in the middle when you are hoping for quick running because boundaries are not available. Quite a few twos were turned into ones before Gayle was run out not even trying to make it to the striker's end. Dhoni could have gone off and finished his media interviews and come back to take the bails off; Gayle would still have not made it. At 62 for 2 in 13 overs, with Samuels struggling, they may as well have finished the interviews then.

Mishra put paid to all hopes of a Colombo-final-like comeback with a sharp legbreak that provided his captain his 127th stumping in all international cricket. Nobody has more. Bravo was next beaten comprehensively by the googly, and the game was practically over.

Some indiscipline from India towards the end took West Indies to 129, and despite a poorly called lbw of Shikhar Dhawan, this wasn't going to challenge India. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma saw India through with calm half-centuries, even though a struggling Yuvraj Singh manufactured some late drama. The only thing missing on another satisfying night for India was a push for a big net run-rate boost. If they play like they have been playing, they might not even need to think of the net run-rate.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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