By BV Swagath
Shikhar Dhawan scored an effortless century eased India to a 5-wicket win in the Third ODI at Kanpur. India have also taken the short 3-match Series 2-1 after chasing down West Indies’ total of 263 with 23 balls to spare.
India’s run chase looked easy although Ravi Rampaul chipped away with the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the mandatory powerplay. The hosts had already got 61 runs on the board when Kohli was dismissed in the 9th over thanks to a wonderful start from Shikhar Dhawan. The first wicket went down in the 5th over with Ramapul forcing Rohit Sharma (4) to edge him behind. Kohli, who was looking good on 19, was in double minds to play or leave, and was caught behind with Rampaul getting the ball to dart back.
West Indies struggled to make any further inroads to get back in the game as Shikhar Dhawan got a fine partnership going with Yuvraj Singh. The only challenge for the pair was tackling Sunil Narine. Yuvraj Singh found his touch again after a long time to help himself to a 51st ODI fifty. He got out though having scored 55 (from 74 balls with 7 fours) after tamely edging a turning off break from Narine to slip. The 31-year-old had done a good job already by helping Dhawan put up a match-sealing 3rd wicket stand of 129 runs.
Shikhar Dhawan got his 5th ODI century in just 73 balls with 18 fours without playing any big shots! His breezy knock ensured that India was never struggling with the required run rate. Dhawan got out after scoring 119 from 95 balls with 20 balls, getting caught and bowled by Dwayne Bravo, pushing early at a slower one. India needed just another 46 when Dhawan got out.
Birthday boy Suresh Raina gained some confidence as well scoring a neat 34 from 43 balls although he would be disappointed to lose his wicket, edging a drive off Dwayne Bravo with India on the brink. Skipper MS Dhoni finished things with an unbeaten 23 from as many balls. Dhawan was the Man of the Match and Virat Kohli was the Player of the Series.
West Indies Batting: West Indies smashed 41 runs in three overs to finish their innings on a high at 263 for 5 after being asked to bat first by MS Dhoni. It is considered to be a challenging total put up by the West Indies as the ball was darting around for the seamers in the beginning. The pitch though has only got better and better and should play the best in the afternoon.
India had an early breakthrough with Bhuvneshwar Kumar surprising Johnson Charles (11) with an inswinger to clean him up in the 5th over. The hosts then conceded a 117-run stand for the 2nd wicket to lose the advantage of bowling first. Opener Kieran Powell made an impressive 70 from 81 balls with 9 fours. Marlon Samuels, who struggled at the start, blossomed to score 71 from 93 balls with 7 fours and a six. The two West Indian players who had a strong 2nd wicket stand were dismissed by R Ashwin in the space of six overs.
Powell was out top edging a sweep shot while Samuels was bowled through the gate by a spinning off break which had Windies at 168 for 3. Jadeja had Lendl Simmons caught behind in an attempted cut and Shami had Dwayne Bravo caught at deep covers to peg back West Indies at 196 for 5 by the 42nd over.
India lost the plot again as Darren Bravo and Darren Sammy applied themselves to stay till the end and take West Indies to a grand finish. Darren Bravo finished off with a third fifty of the series with an unbeaten 51 from 53 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes. Sammy scored an unbeaten cameo of 37 from 29 balls with a four and 2 sixes.
R Ashwin was the best bowler on show taking 2 for 45 in his 10 overs.
Toss and Teams: India have won the toss and opted to bowl first in the Third and Final ODI at the Green Park in Kanpur. Both the teams are unchanged. The pitch is expected to be good for batting with not much of bounce and pace for the fast bowlers.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma
West Indies: Johnson Charles (WK), Kieran Powell, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo (C), Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Jason Holder, Ravi Rampaul, Veerasammy Permaul