It was a complete team performance as fifties from Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni helped India set a target of 269 for the West Indies. Later on, Mohammad Shami came up with yet another 4-wicket haul to bundle the West Indies for a meagre 143.
It has to be said that the West Indies' challenge with the bat went nowhere as Mohammad Shami caused early damage with some fantastic bowling. Chris Gayle and Shai Hope, in particular, were victims of some very world-class deliveries from Shami. Sunil Ambris, who was making his World Cup debut and young Nicholas Pooran prodded along for a while but Hardik Pandya came up with a brilliant slower ball to deceive the former when he was on 31. This was when the West Indian batting line up started to unravel against a quality Indian bowling line up. West Indies' middle and lower order failed to step and the team was bowled out for 143.
Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat. Even though the Indian openers started on a positive note but the team suffered a setback in the sixth over as Rohit Sharma was given out controversially by the third umpire, Michael Gough. The newly crowned No. 1 ranked side didn't let the decision affect with KL Rahul and Virat Kohli stitching a 50-run stand for the second wicket.
Just when Rahul looked poised to get his second fifty of the World Cup, a loose shot against Jason Holder's bowling meant that his off stump was pegged back. India's much talked about issue concerning their middle-order yet again came to the fore as Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav fell in quick succession. With India's inning in a delicate position, Kohli and MS Dhoni tried to rebuild the inning and accelerate in the end. But, as he has been for the past few years, Dhoni struggled to rotate the strike and this helped West Indies get through some very cheap overs.
The situation became a bit more problematic for India when Kohli's half-hearted pull shot handed an easy catch. At this point, not only did India needed a partnership but they also required a rapid one at that. This is when Hardik Pandya came in and played a risk-free cameo to help India get out of their hole. Pandya's 38-ball 46 also relieved pressure off MS Dhoni when he was still trying to get into his groove. After Pandya fell, the onus was on Dhoni to end with a flourish and he did that to perfection. The young Oshane Thomas erred with his length and Dhoni took him to task with 16 runs as India ended with a total of 268-7.
There wasn't much movement in the 'Most Runs' list apart from Virat Kohli's 82-ball 72 which helped him get the 9th spot.
There were two new entrants in the 'Most Wickets' list as both Sheldon Cottrell and Yuzvendra Chahal picked up two wickets.
Also read – Cricket World cup hat trickPublished 27 Jun 2019, 23:42 IST