Virat Kohli’s 53rd fifty and MS Dhoni’s blazing 72nd half-century, combined with the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami helped India get the better of West Indies by a massive margin of 125 runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash at Old Trafford, Manchester on Wednesday. With this loss, West Indies become the third team after Afghanistan and South Africa to be knocked out of the competition while India is a step closer to sealing a spot in the semi-final. On a sluggish pitch, West Indies were never in the game after India posted a competitive total of 268/7 after India chose to bat.
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul started off cautiously against some disciplined West Indies bowling. Rohit broke the shackles by hammering a four and a six off Kemar Roach but the bowler had his revenge albeit in controversial circumstances. The bat was near the ball but it also brushed the pad. The umpires original decision of not out was reversed by third umpire Michael Gough and the batsman was stunned by the decision as he made the walk back. Gough’s decision drew the ire of social media, who criticised his decision.
Rahul was joined by Virat Kohli and the duo stitched a solid partnership. Both batsmen hit the boundary on a regular basis. Jason Holder bowled some tight overs but both Kohli and Rahul held firm. Rahul was nearing his fifty but he was undone by a superb in-dipper from Holder on 48. Vijay Shankar started off well with some attractive boundaries while Kohli became the fastest to go past 20,000 international runs.
India suffered a slight collapse during the middle stages as West Indies fought back thanks to Roach. He sent back Shankar for 14 and Kedar Jadhav for 7. MS Dhoni joined Kohli and he was given a massive let-off when Shai Hope fluffed a big stumping chance in the 34th over. West Indies, though, held their nerve and did not concede easy runs. Kohli, who notched up his fourth consecutive fifty-plus score, fell for 72 as he miscued a pull shot off Holder.
Hardik Pandya, though, showed his class and scored at better than a run-a-ball as India managed to reach a great score. Dhoni showed his mettle by blasting two sixes and a four in the final over off Oshane Thomas as they a great score.
In response, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were in top form and they troubled the West Indies openers with pace and accuracy. Gayle, who struggled for 18 balls, fell to Shami’s short ball as West Indies’ chase fell apart with his dismissal. Sunil Ambris and Shai Hope struggled to get going as the asking rate mounted.
Hardik Pandya pounced on the pressure by trapping Ambris LBW for 31 while Kuldeep Yadav sent back Nicholas Pooran for 28. India’s plans were executed perfectly and Yuzvendra Chahal sent back Jason Holder when he drove a lofted shot straight to extra cover. Bumrah tore through the middle order when he got rid of Carlos Brathwaite and Fabian Allen.
Brathwaite edged a shortish ball outside off and it took a brilliant one-handed catch from Dhoni to send the centurion from the previous match back. Allen fell LBW and even a review could not save him. Shimron Hetmyer fell to Shami and when Chahal trapped Cottrell LBW, the writing was on the wall. Kemar Roach and Oshane Thomas frustrated India slightly, with India not appealing for a catch and a decision being overturned. Rahul dropped a catch off Thomas but Shami bounced out Thomas and India sealed a comprehensive win.
With this win, India is a step closer to the semi-final and as for the West Indies, it was yet another World Cup of hurt and disappointment.