Defending champions India today survived a scare before defeating a spirited West Indies by four wickets in a group league encounter to romp into the quarter-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup here with four wins on the trot.
Chasing a modest target of 183, India’s top-order struggled due to poor shot selection before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s composed unbeaten innings of 45 helped them reach the target in 39.1 overs and ensure their fourth consecutive win in the tournament.
However, it wasn’t as commanding as the previous three wins as the batting was scrappy, the fielding shoddy with as many as four catches being dropped and the bowling lacking discipline at times with 16 wides during the West Indies innings.
By virtue of this victory, India stretched their winning run at the global event to eight matches stretching from 2011 edition’s group league match against West Indies in Chennai. The eight wins thus equals the record of Sourav Ganguly-led team’s effort during the 2003 edition in South Africa.
Dhoni, who had a poor run of form in recent times played an innings of substance that had three boundaries and a six off 56 deliveries. West Indies pacers’ 19 wides also helped India’s cause after a wobbly start got them off track.
The Indian batting was put to test for the first time in the tournament even though it was a smallish target. The pace and bounce of the WACA strip did play its part but more importantly, the shot selection of the batsmen was pretty poor today.
India got off to a disastrous start as they lost both the openers cheaply and the middle order batsmen never really looked comfortable at the crease.
Shikhar Dhawan (9) again went for a Jerome Taylor delivery outside the off-stump which was not of drivable length and was caught by Darren Sammy at second slip.
Rohit Sharma (7) got fuller delivery from Taylor and the outside edge was taken by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
Virat Kohli (33, 5x4) played some crisp on drives as well as a lovely cover drive adding 43 runs for the third wicket with Ajinkya Rahane (14).