Two great cricketing nations - the West Indies and India - have had a renowned rivalry in the last 50 years. Once a dominant and powerful force, the Windies decimated all teams who came in their way. Gradually, their reign began fading away with the retirements of the legends of yore.
India will tour the West Indies yet again, this time for a short bilateral tour of 5 ODIs and 1 T20. The last time they faced-off in an ODI was during the 2015 World Cup, when India nervously chased down 183 to win at Perth.
Extra cover: 5 threats to team India on the West Indies tour
So perhaps it was fitting that some their best clashes in the Caribbean be recalled before the series kicks off in Port-of-Spain.
#5 Sabina Park, Kingston: 30th June, 2013
West Indies lost their captain Dwayne Bravo to injury before the match and Kieron Pollard deputised in his absence. He asked India to bat on a slow pitch and the men in blue crumbled, with their middle-order flattering to deceive.
The top seven got off to decent starts but only Rohit Sharma converted it to something substantial, falling for 60 off 89 balls while attempting to accelerate. The highest partnership of the innings was only 59, and Suresh Raina failed to last long following a promising 44. India toiled to 229/7, but lost their captain MS Dhoni to injury.
Virat Kohli stood-in while India defended, and his bowlers struck immediately, leaving the hosts at 26/3. It required a quick 116-run union between Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo to steady the ship. Bravo fell to the spin of Ravi Ashwin after scoring 55, and soon, Pollard and Denesh Ramdin followed him back in the dressing room. West Indies were in trouble again at 161/6.
Then, Darren Sammy arrived and launched a counter-attack with 29 off 25 balls. The cameo was laced with two fours and three sixes, but both Sammy and Charles departed soon, and the match hung in the balance with West Indies at 220/9. But patient tailenders Kemar Roach and Tino Best dealt in singles to add ten for the tenth wicket and take West Indies home.
#4 Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet: 3rd July, 2009
In a 27 overs-a-side match, captain Chris Gayle began with his usual urgency and ruthlessly attacked while tonking 27 off 14 balls. The entire middle-order got off to starts but failed to convert into big ones, save for veteran Ramnaresh Sarwan. His composed 62 moulded together the batting, which was kept in check by regular wickets. Sarwan targeted part-timer Yuvraj Singh, hammering 14 off one over, including a bossy six over deep mid-wicket.
But among his partners, only Darren Bravo looked fluent. He produced some sumptuous drives, the best one coming off his first ball when he placed RP Singh exquisitely through the covers. Denesh Ramdin struck 14 from 6 deliveries, but West Indies could manage only 186/7.
With the chase down to 22 overs, India required 159, in pursuit of which Dinesh Karthik raced to a swift 47, with his partner Gautam Gambhir not far away after a 38-ball 44. India needed 34 from 4 overs.
MS Dhoni had arrived at number three, and had to bring out the fine finisher in him yet again with 10 to get off 5. As usual, Dhoni answered by depositing Jerome Taylor way over deep mid-wicket to all but seal the deal, remaining on 46* from 34 balls, as India won by 6 wickets with one ball to spare.
#3 Warner Park, Basseterre: 23rd May, 2006
It was a perfect start to international cricket at Warner Park. Rahul Dravid batted first but himself fell for a duck, and Suresh Raina showed glimpses of solidity before falling for 26. Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Kaif combined to stitch 112, the former displaying his customary big hits throughout.
Before falling for a dominant 97 from 83 deliveries, Sehwag tonked nine fours and three sixes. Ian Bradshaw and Jerome Taylor suffered the most, as he carted them all around the park, slashing and smashing boundaries at will.
Kaif was calmer in his 61, but once Sehwag left, India lost their way. Barely 35 runs came from the final 13 overs while losing six wickets, and India managed a meagre total of 245/9. They still had a chance with West Indies at 131/4, as Ramnaresh Sarwan breezed to a 50, the highlights being twin maximums off Ramesh Powar. After finding a bankable partner in Shivnarine Chanderpaul, they added 106, and though Sarwan slowed down, Chanderpaul enjoyed pace on the ball, with all his boundaries coming off seamers.
But Irfan Pathan brought India back by first trapping Chanderpaul for 58 and then running out Dwayne Bravo. West Indies needed 2 off 2, and Sarwan found the fence with a lofty shot over cover to end on 115*, as the Windies won by four wickets.
#2 Sabina Park, Kingston: 20th May, 2006
Rahul Dravid’s bowlers swung the new ball well to leave West Indies at 43/4. Both Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar troubled the top order and Ramnaresh Sarwan remained as the only one from the top six.
Gradually lifting the tempo following an extremely cautious start, Sarwan realised the need to press the accelerator, as he hammered 23 runs off his last 9 deliveries, including two fours and a six off a single Pathan over. Pathan finished with 3/45 as West Indies crawled to 198/9 with Sarwan scoring nearly half the runs en route to his 98*.
Despite a paltry target, India ran into troubled waters at 60/4 as the West Indies’ pace trio rocked India. Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina calmed things down with their 64-run association but Raina perished while spurring the innings. Soon, India were 134/7 with Yuvraj still standing. Ramesh Powar aided him in adding 43 but Yuvraj was left alone to knock off 12 from 11 balls. By now, he was on 85 with six fours and a six.
The last over began with 11 required and a solitary wicket in hand, and Yuvraj first got a streaky four and then the cleanest of shots brought another boundary – 2 off 3. Next came Dwayne Bravo’s slower ball yorker, Yuvraj was foxed on 93 and West Indies won by 1 run.
#1 Sabina Park, Kingston: 18th May, 2006
Chris Gayle set alight Sabina Park with a sparkling 123 after rain took away five overs from each innings. Decorated with 18 fours and a six, Gayle gave West Indies the early momentum by attacking the bowlers from the outset.
Neither pace nor spin was spared by the hungry Jamaican as he bludgeoned the bowling with aggression. After Gayle’s, however, the middle-order could only carve out 29 runs from the final five overs to leave the score at 251/6.
Surprisingly, skipper Rahul Dravid was in an attacking mood himself, but India were jostling at 86/3 in the 18th over. Mohammad Kaif joined him to string together as many runs as Gayle had alone scored, and Dravid slowly got going again. He picked up slower balls well and dispatched two sixes, one of them on one knee off Marlon Samuels.
Dravid completed his hundred off 99 deliveries but fell for 105 with India some distance away. MS Dhoni arrived at the crease and went after a boundary-laden cameo of 18 and a settled Kaif calmly reached fifty. Down to 3 required off 2, Kaif cleanly caressed a cover drive for four to end on 66*, as India won by five wickets with only a ball remaining.