Mumbai: West Indies held their nerve and toppled India to seal a place in the ICC World Twenty20 final in Mumbai on Thursday. Indian bowlers, who had done a remarkable job in the tournament till this game, faltered in the semifinal.
In what was stunning run-chase the Darren Sammy-led unit won the match by seven wickets in the final over. Lendl Simmons, who enjoyed a fair share of luck, scored unbeaten 83 while Andre Russell slammed 43 runs off 20 balls to power the Caribbean side towards victory.
Needing 193 runs to win the game and seal their place in the final, West Indies were pushed on the backfoot after Jasprit Bumrah’s low full toss removed Chris Gayle.
Marlon Samuels, who could hit big, joined Gayle in the dressing room after he failed to direct a Ashish Nehra delivery through the leg-side and gave an easy catch to Ajinkya Rahane in the covers.
But from thereon, it was all West Indies show. Johnson Charles and Lendl Simmons used the long handle as West Indies moved past fifty in the seventh over.
Simmons enjoyed lady luck as R Ashwin overstepped and nullified Bumrah’s tremendous catch. The West Indian pair completed fifty-run partnership in 33 balls.
The duo continued their merry ways as Windies zoomed past 80 by the end of 10 overs. While Simmons was a circumspect, Charles tonked the Indian bowlers with a lot of ease and gum Shum. He took just thirty balls to score fifty. Charles continued to trouble India and their fans as West Indies looked to set to dash India’s hopes.
Came Virat Kohli, the bowler, to India’s rescue. He had not bowled an over in the tournament and Dhoni turned to him. Johnson Charles, who had smashed every other Indian bowler, tried to ruffle Kohli on the first ball. But his plan backfired as Rohit Sharma, stationed at long-off, held on to an easy catch.
But Andre Russell jumped into the action as soon as he arrived at the crease. He took on Hardik Pandya. The young Indian all-rounder had almost made up for his blemish but a no-ball prolonged Simmons’ stay in the middle.
Luck continued to favour him as Jadeja-Kohli’s relay-attempt ended in a six. Simmons and Russell brought down the winning target to 20 runs off 12 balls as Wankhede turned grim.
Just when Jadeja, who bowled the penultimate over, looked to have brought back India, he conceded 10 runs off the last two balls.
Dhoni turned to Kohli to bowl the final over. While the star Indian batsman kept alive India’s hopes by giving away a run in first two balls, Andre Russell made sure India did not make a comeback like they did against Bangladesh as he smashed ten runs on next two balls to help West Indies cross the finish line.
Put in to bat first, India scored 192 runs in the second semifinal. While Virat continued his brilliant run of form, West Indies sloppy work in the field, including three missed run-out opportunities and two dropped catches to get out Kohli, helped India after Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, who replaced Shikhar Dhawan in the playing XI, began the inning on a positive note.
Rohit and Rahane were sedate at the start as Andre Russell and Samuel Badree bowled two tight overs conceding merely six runs. Rohit looked troubled in the beginning as the Windies duo tested him outside the off stump.
However, ‘Rohit Rohit’ chant soon took over Wankhede as the right-hander opened his shoulders. First, he timed a Carlos Bathwaite delivery for a six over long-on and then hit two boundaries off Sulieman Benn’s over.
Playing on his home ground, Rohit then took Russell to the cleaners in the final over of Powerplay. A no-ball six was followed by a huge six which almost kissed the press-box. A four over mid-wicket followed. Rahane, meanwhile, played it sensibly rotating strike.
India, who had struggled in the powerplay in earlier games, scored 55 runs in an all-important semifinal.
Samuel Badree though spoiled India’s party as he trapped Rohit before the wickets in the eighth over after the Mumbai batsman scored 43 runs off 31 balls. Virat Kohli walked in amidst thunderous cheer to join Rahane in the middle.
There was drama straightway as Kohli, Denesh Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo joined hands to create an absolute comedy. Kohli could not connect a free-hit delivery and took off for a single. Till the time, Rahane sent him back, Ramdin had a lifetime to disturb the timber, but he missed out. Kohli was still out of his crease, the ball was in Bravo’s hands now. He too had a go at stumps but he did a Ramdin before Kohli made it to the crease.
Rahane restored the calm with a backfoot punch in the Badree’s final over and innings’ tenth as India moved past 80-run mark till the halfway stage. There were no undue risks taken as Kohli-Rahane duo ran West Indies ragged with rabbit-like running between the wickets. The two completed fifty-run partnership as India crossed three-figure mark in the 13th over.
India lost Rahane in the 16th over off Russell’s bowling as Dwayne Bravo broke into his Champion dance moves near the mid-wicket boundary.
However, the pair did a wonderful job setting up the stage for the big to follow.
MS Dhoni walked in to bat at number four and he and Kohli just continued from where they have left in the Australia game. They ran at maddening speed, chipped in with fours and pushed West Indies on the backfoot. Kohli, meanwhile added another fifty to his account, as India reached 150-run mark by the end of the 17th over.
West Indies had a chance to end Kohli’s stay in the middle in the 18th over but Carlos Brathwaite’s diving effort in the deep was not enough. Kohli, then upped the ante in style, hitting a six over long on and then following it up with two powerful fours. If Kohli’s boundary-hitting was not enough, he and Dhoni took Darren Sammy-led side on a ride with some awe-inspiring running.
However, Kohli’s fine knock eventually went in vain as Charles, Simmons and Russell powered West Indies to the World T20 final....