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11 October 201423:01 By Shashank Kishore

All-Round India fight back to level series

West Indies falls short by 48 runs on slow pitch in Delhi

All-Round India fight back to level series - Cricket News

India finished with 263 for 7 due to the 105-run stand between Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli.

West Indies cruised, high and happy, for most parts of its chase and but eventually fell short of the target. That meant the excellent work put in by Dwayne Smith at the top of the order was undone as India registered a 48-run win at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium to level the five-match One-Day International series at 1-1 on Saturday (October 11).

The target of 264 was made easier as Smith (97) and Kieron Pollard (40) shared a second-wicket stand of 72 to do the ground work after the openers started solidly. But an ambitious heave off Amit Mishra, resulted in not just the wicket of Pollard but a halt in momentum as Marlon Samuels, the No. 4 batsman, found it tough to time the ball on a slow surface.

When Smith, who smashed 11 fours and two sixes, was bowled by a sharp Mohammad Shami inswinger, West Indies was 170 for 3, needing another 96 off 86 balls. That task was made extremely difficult by Mishra, the legspinner. Samuels, who was comfortable against him in Kochi, was strangulated by the variations before the frustration resulted in a slap to Virat Kohli at point off Umesh Yadav. His knock of 16 had consumed 38 deliveries and the equation became harder for West Indies.

With one eye on the asking rate and another on Mishra's wily legspin, Denesh Ramdin was tentative, and was soon consumed by a delivery that spun across the surface to take the edge as Suresh Raina completed an excellent catch at slip. And when Andre Russell and Darren Sammy, equally capable of a match-winning innings, were removed by Ravindra Jadeja in the space of five deliveries, West Indies had gone from 170 for 2 to 199 for 7 before it was 215 all out in 46.3 overs.

But, there was hardly anything sensational in the first half as the India batsmen, for the best part of their innings, were forced to scrap in a manner few anticipated.

That India eventually finished with 263 for 7 in 50 overs was due to the brilliance of Raina (62 off 60 balls), who injected the momentum, with Kohli (62 off 78 balls) playing second fiddle. The 105-run stand for the third wicket helped India recover from a precarious position.

Shikhar Dhawan, who was hit on the thigh pad twice, was rooted to the crease and was bowled for 1 when he played outside the line of a Jerome Taylor delivery in the second over, while Ajinkya Rahane’s first attempt at hitting through the line with authority resulted in a catch to Bravo at cover to leave India at 50 for 2 in the 13th over.

And, when Rayudu was out to Benn for a 54-ball 32, India needed a rescue act.

Raina, who walked in to bat in the 18th over, unleashed sublime drives and the nonchalant glides off the pacers. The ease with which Raina batted only helped Kohli settle in as India looked set for a final onslaught. But when an attempted Raina loft landed in Pollard’s hands at mid-off in the first over of the batting PowerPlay, West Indies had a sniff.

But Kohli soldiered on, and once the nerves eased, there were glimpses of his best, but as it would turn out, the first authoritative strike to clear the ropes would land in the hands of Samuels at long off to leave India at 196 for 5 in the 41st over.

At that position, India needed Dhoni’s last-minute rescue act to get towards the 250-run mark, and he didn’t let them down, carving an unbeaten 40-ball 51, with support from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who made 18. In the end analysis, Dhoni's effort, not only galvanized India, but also gave 30,000 spectators the result they were happy with.

To see the scorecard and review the India v West Indies match in full, please click here.