India wrapped up the series against West Indies 2-1 at Kanpur today after winning the 3rd and last match by 5 wickets.
Set 264 to chase after half centuries from Kieran Powell, Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo, India chased the target in 46.1 overs with a century from Shikhar Dhawan, his 5th of his career in ODIs, and a half-century from comeback man Yuvraj Singh.
In-form batsmen Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, both were dismissed by Ravi Rampaul before the completion of the first 10 overs of the chase. However, Shikhar Dhawan, who had taken an attacking route from the start, and Yuvraj Singh, who had struggled to score runs against Australia and West Indies as well so far, stitched together a 129-run partnership for the 4th wicket in just under 22 overs to take the game away from the visitors.
Dhawan was the more dominant contributor in the partnership between the two southpaws, and scored boundaries at will against West Indies’ lesser bowlers. Apart from Ravi Rampaul and Sunil Narine, all other bowlers leaked runs, making the job easier for the batsmen.
Yuvraj, whose highest score in the last 6 innings was 28, struggled to score runs freely and was beaten on many occasions by Narine, but held on to reach a much needed half-century. Dhawan completed his career’s 5th ODI century, albeit via an outside edge against Narine which went for a boundary, his 18th of the innings.
Yuvraj’s troubles against Narine continued and he was finally dismissed by the spinner in the 31st over, when he edged a regulation off-spinner to Dwayne Bravo at slip. By then, India had already knocked 190 runs off the required total and were in complete command of the game.
Dhawan departed in the 38th over, giving a tame return catch to Bravo, but not before scoring a career-high score of 119. Dhawan’s innings came off just 95 balls and was studded with 20 fours. At 218/4, with only 46 required from over 12 overs, the game was almost over. India lost birthday boy Suresh Raina’s (34) wicket, before captain MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja completed the victory in the 47th over.
Earlier, in an early morning start, Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first, planning to take the full advantage of the conditions. The trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami were on target, beating the West Indies batsmen on many occasions, but only Kumar could get any success, breaking the stumps of Jonathan Charles in the 5th over.
Kieran Powell (70) and Marlon Samuels (71) added 117 runs for the 3rd wicket, albeit never breaking free completely, with the spinners Ashwin and Jadeja keeping the run-rate in check. But West Indies managed to break the shackles in the latter part of the innings, with Darren Bravo (51 off 53) and last match’s hero Darren Sammy (37 off 29) providing the required boost towards the end.
However, in the end, the total of 263 didn’t prove to be enough against this strong Indian batting line-up, as India registered a relatively easy win to complete a series win.
It’s been an incredible year for the Indian batsmen, with Virat Kohli (1237), Rohit Sharma (1159) and Shikhar Dhawan (1150) being the highest run-getters in ODIs in 2013 so far. Even in the bowling department, it’s Ravindra Jadeja who leads the numbers with 51 wickets in ODIs so far this year.
India now travel to South Africa, with the ODI series scheduled to start from 5th December, the day West Indies’ Test series against New Zealand too commences in Dunedin.
Man of the Match – Shikhar Dhawan
Man of the Series – Virat Kohli