India advance emphatically to semis
India charged to an 8 wicket win against the West Indies at the Oval on Tuesday, becoming the first team to seal a place in the semi finals of the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
Having decided to bowl first, India removed the dangerous Chris Gayle (21, 18b) early but came under fire from Johnson Charles who made an attacking 60 (55b 7x4 2x6) to take WI to 103/1 in the 20th over. The introduction of Ravindra Jadeja into the attack at that point turned the game in India’s favour as he rapidly removed Charles, Marlon Samuels (1) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (1). Counter attacks from Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard were nipped before the damage could get serious and Darren Bravo played himself into a shell as WI stumbled to 182/9 from 103/1.
Darren Sammy had been threatening to go for the hits till then and with just Kemar Roach for company, he accelerated superbly. Sammy raised an unbeaten 51 run last wicket stand with Kemar Roach (0* 7b), justifying his place as an allrounder in the side after having been stripped of the captaincy before the tournament and being dropped in WI’s first game, only to return to the side due to Denesh Ramdin’s 2 game suspension. He swung his way to (56* 35b 5x4 4x6) as WI posted 233/9 in their 50 overs.
Jadeja finished with 5/36, the best figures by an Indian in the Champions Trophy and he was well supported by Ishant Sharma (1/43), Bhuvneshwar (1/32), R Ashwin (1/36) and Umesh Yadav (1/54).
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan gave India the most assured of starts, adding 101 in just 15.2 overs before Sharma (52 56b 7x4) was out caught behind off a faint glance. Kohli’s second wind in International cricket had started with a half century against the West Indies in the 2009 Champions Trophy and he looked set to repeat that, cracking four breathtaking boundaries in his brief stay. He was bowled by Narine for 22 (18b 4x4), leaving India at 127/2 after 20 overs.
Dinesh Karthik ensured the chase finished without any more hiccups. Dhawan was in his element, using the crease adeptly and attacking without any respite to bring up his second hundred on the trot, his third in three international games since his sensational debut against Australia at Mohali in March.
Rain interrupted with India 30 runs short of the total but they were comfortably ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis par scores chart. Karthik raced from 29 to near his half century but Dhawan (102* 107b 10x4 1x6) brought up his hundred first, jabbing Dwayne Bravo for a six over backward point. A stylish lofted cover drive fetched Karthik (51* 54b 8x4) his fifty and the winning runs for India, making the unfancied team the first to enter the semifinals of the tournament, India’s best showing in the tournament since sharing the 2002 title with Sri Lanka.
The win also knocked Pakistan, who lost their two games in the same group, out of the tournament. One of South Africa and West Indies stand a chance to progress to the semis from Group B.