Another WI crash
CHENNAI – Another inexplicable West Indies batting collapse betrayed a career-best spell from Ravi Rampaul and another fine innings from Devon Smith, condemning them to an 80-run defeat against India in the World Cup yesterday.
Smith continued his rich vein of form and to silence his critics with 81 from 97 balls, as West Indies, chasing 269 for victory, were dismissed for 188 with 42 balls remaining in the final group match of the competition at the Chidambaram Stadium.
The visitors lost their last eight wickets for 34 runs in the space of 76 deliveries, dramatically slumping from the relative comfort of 154 for two in the 31st over – again failing to beat a side rated higher than them in the official One-day International Rankings.
“We again [lost a cluster of wickets] and this is a concern for us,” said West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
“We must however, pick ourselves up from these two losses, and get ourselves together again. We have reached the knockout stage, which was our objective, and anything can happen from here.”
The result confirmed a place for West Indies in the quarter-finals, after they held onto fourth place ahead of Bangladesh with six points and a superior net run rate. South Africa topped Group B with ten points, India finished second on nine points, and England ended in third on seven points. West Indies have three days to get their act together before they face Group A winners Pakistan in the first quarter-final on Wednesday at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur, Bangladesh.
“We are still in the tournament having reached the knockout stage, but we really have to tighten up, and tighten up very, very quickly because we are facing Pakistan, so we need to bring our ‘A’ game,” said Sammy.
Rampaul was playing his first match in the tournament, following an illness that sidelined strike bowler Kemar Roach.
He responded to the challenge of leading the attack, and captured five wickets for 51 runs from ten overs to silence the detractors that questioned his place in the squad, and India were dismissed for 268 in 49.1 overs after they chose to bat. Rampaul, however, had to share the spotlight with Yuvraj Singh.
The Indian left-hander defied dehydration and broke his drought of hundreds, when he gathered 113 from 123 balls that included ten fours and two sixes.
Fortune then favoured West Indies early in their chase, when international newcomer Kirk Edwards survived a run out chance on seven, after umpire Simon Taufel of Australia failed to ask for help from the TV replay umpire.
Edwards, opening the batting in place of the injured Chris Gayle, failed to make the most of the chance, however, and was lbw to Ravichandran Ashwin for 17 in the seventh over, after Steve Davis, another Australian umpire, was this time asked to refer the decision.
Darren Bravo joined Smith, and they kept West Indies moving with a sound second-wicket stand of 57, their running between the wickets being the highlight of the partnership.
Just when it appeared they would take full control and leave India with their heads bowed, Bravo was caught at long-on off Suresh Raina’s modest off-spin for 22 essaying a lofted drive.
West Indies were 91 for two, and Smith continued to bat confidently, and reached his 50 from 64 balls, when he drove Raina to long-off for a single in the 19th over.
He and Sarwan batted with little fanfare to add 63 from 81 balls, defying every spin option India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni could use before Zaheer Khan made the breakthrough and swung the match, when Smith was bowled looking for a drive.
Typically, the remaining West Indies batsmen failed to appreciate the situation, panicked, and all perished in the face of recklessness. (CMC)