Ramdin chips in with a quick-fire 61 to help West Indies post 321/6 before bowlers restrict hosts to 197
The men from the Caribbean came up with one of their more convincing performances against India in recent times in the first One-Day International in Kochi on Wednesday (October 8) when, boosted by Marlon Samuels’s century, West Indies sauntered to a 124-run victory.
Samuels scored an unbeaten 116-ball 126 to help West Indies put up 321 for 6 as it pooh-poohed the talk about its ability, or the lack of it, to handle the Indian spinners. It was Samuels’s sixth ODI century, and was reminiscent of his first in ODIs nearly 12 years back, an unbeaten 75-ball 108 against India in Vijayawada in November 2002.
With Denesh Ramdin for support in a 165-run stand for the fourth wicket, Samuels picked on Amit Mishra in the 31st over, slugging a couple of sixes. That proved the turning point of the innings as Samuels and Ramdin went on to negotiate the tricky middle overs with ease before launching an almighty assault.
Chasing a huge target, Shikhar Dhawan (68 in 92 balls) and Ajinkya Rahane (24 in 22) gave India a good start, but an unfortunate run out proved ever so crucial as the remaining batsmen fell without putting up anything meaningful, the pressure compounding after each wicket. India was eventually bowled out for 197, and West Indies took a 1-0 lead with nine overs left in the Indian innings.
Earlier, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami found ample movement with the new ball to trouble the openers and soon Dwayne Bravo, who had opened only thrice in his ODI career prior to this game, edged Shami to Dhawan in the slips. Darren Bravo joined Smith and the two put on a watchful 64-run stand – an important partnership in the larger scheme of things, as the effect of the new-ball was nullified. The stand was broken when Ravindra Jadeja bowled Smith for a 45-ball 46. And when Darren Bravo was dismissed soon after, West Indies was 120 for 3 in the 23rd over.
It was then that Ramdin teamed up with Samuels. They attempted to take it easy and keep the scoreboard ticking over, and did that for a while, but Samuels couldn’t take the peace for too long. He was in good nick, his footwork was immaculate, and when he connected, the ball usually went the distance. So he let loose in the 31st over, hitting consecutive sixes off Mishra – one flat and powerful over long-on, the other lifted masterfully over long-off – and just like that, the whole complexion of the innings changed.
India, till that point, had been in control even if it didn’t take too many wickets. But once Samuels charged, India found itself leaking runs, with poor bowling and fielding lapses not helping. The batting PowerPlay that followed brought further misery as 52 runs were scored without any wickets falling.
Ramdin did his job in that he rotated the strike constantly and allowed Samuels to do the talking. India didn’t really have any answers. There was a boundary almost every over, and though most of them came from Samuels, Ramdin wasn’t to be left behind as he completed his half-century off just 52 balls. Soon after, Samuels completed his century, off 99 balls, and celebrated with a look to the skies with his arms spread wide.
The partnership was broken when Ramdin holed out to Jadeja for a 59-ball 61 and Shami then picked up the wickets of Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell to return 4 for 66, but the damage had been done.
India started off well enough. Dhawan and Rahane took things cautiously early on – it took 19 deliveries for the first boundary of the innings – but once they settled in, biggies flowed freely. Rahane was particularly effective through the leg side, pulling and flicking away. After a slow start by his standards, Dhawan also pitched in. He employed the flick to good effect as well, but his back foot cut through backward point was particularly charming.
While the two lasted, India looked good to make a competition of the chase. However, the run out came from nowhere and threw a spanner in the works: Both Rahane and Dhawan ended up at the same end in the ninth over, and both were visibly disappointed with the other for the lapse in communication. Rahane had to walk back.
Thereafter, it was almost a steady procession of wickets. The edged-and-taken mode of dismissal that Virat Kohli suffered many times in England was once again a problem, Jerome Taylor the instigator this time. Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu put on 27, but a needless swipe from Rayudu cost him his wicket. And when the in-form Suresh Raina inside edged Dwayne Bravo on to his stumps soon after, the writing was on the wall with India 83 for 4.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni then partnered Dhawan, and went about rebuilding the innings. It was easier said than done though. The boundaries dried up, and with scoreboard pressure mounting, Dhoni tried to attack Sulieman Benn. But the turn deceived him considerably, and it made for nervy viewing for the Indian fan.
Meanwhile, Dhawan completed his half-century in 71 balls as the pair ploughed on and added a gritty 31. It was crucial for India that the partnership lasted longer, but the stand was broken in the 26th over, with Dhoni completely unprepared for Darren Sammy’s yorker. Then, with the pressure building, Dhawan tried a slog sweep, missed and was bowled by Samuels.
For the record, Jadeja and Shami put on 42 for the last wicket. But, by then, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which was filled to capacity earlier in the innings, was more than half empty.
To see the scorecard and review the India v West Indies match in full, please click here.