West Indies scrape through to 3 wicket win; book semifinal berth
Ahmedabad, Oct 26: Ajit Agarkar nearly snatched victory from the hands of defeat for India as they went down fighting losing to West Indies by three wickets in the Super Eight Group 'A' match of the Champions Trophy played at the Sardar Patel stadium here today.
Set a target of 224 to get in 50 overs, West Indies chased down that target making 224 for seven wickets with just two balls to spare.
With this win, West Indies have book their place in the semifinals having two wins out of two so far and a match against England, who are still to register a win, while India will now have to beat Australia on October 29 if they want to proceed to the final.
West Indies started their chase on an explosive note with Chris Gayle smashing Irfan Pathan as the left armer went for 22 runs in his first three overs. Munaf Patel at the other end bowled with a lot of fire and purpose, troubling the West Indian batsmen, but he did not get the support from the other end.
Gayle hammered a quick fire 34 in just 37 balls with seven powerful hits to the fence, before he tried one shot too many and paid the penalty holing out to mid-off where R P Singh made no mistake off the bowling of Munaf Patel.
After the departure of Gayle, Chanderpaul carried on the work as he got stuck into R P Singh who was guilty of bowling on both sides of the wicket.
The entry of the spinners into the attack saw slowing down of the scoring rate, and Dwayne Bravo, batting at number three for the first time in his life being caught plumb in front of the wicket by Harbhajan for 16. Chanderpaul also soon departed caught at first slip by Rahul Dravid of the bowling of V Sehwag, but not before completing a well deserved half century. He was finally dismissed for 51 off 72 balls including eight boundaries.
Ramnaresh Sarwan and Runako Morton then took the West Indies to 212 just 12 runs short of victory when Morton was trapped in front by Agarkar for a well made 45 of 64 balls with two hits to the fence and a six. This wicket saw Agarkar all fired up and then Pathan had Lara playing onto his stumps for five and then Sarwan was run out for 53 which came in a stay of 81 balls and had two hits to the fence to leave the Windies on 219 for six. At the same score, Agarkar got Dwayne Smith clean bowled for zero, before Samuels hit the winning boundary with just two balls remaining.
Earlier, a typical 65 ball 51 by Mahendra Dhoni took India to a respectable score of 223 after the top order blues came back to haunt the famed Indian batting line up. Rahul Dravid with a typical 49 before he was run out by a brilliant piece of fielding by Dwayne Smith, held together the top order. Sehwag once again failed after promising much hitting three boundaries in his 17. Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh got starts but could not convert them as India slumped to 131 for five before the Dhoni fireworks took India to 223 for nine. Ian Bradshaw with 3 for 30 in his ten overs was the most successful bowler for the Windies and he was well backed up by Jerome Taylor who bowled fast and accurate hitting Irfan Pathan on the helmet and Sachin Tendulkar on the shoulder with well directed short balls, took 2 for 33 taking his ten.