The Indian spinners were the undoing of the West Indies ODI line-up as the visitors folded for 211 in 48.5 overs. The hosts then sailed to the target to register a six-wicket win and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The trio of Ravindra Jadeja (three wickets), Suresh Raina (three wickets) and Ravichandran Ashwin dismantled the visitors’ line-up to bowl the visitors out with seven balls to spare in the first ODI. Then with a scintillating 133-run partnership, the in-form Rohit Sharma (72) and Virat Kohli (86) put India in a commanding position. And although Kohli departed with victory in sight, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni took India across the line with 88 balls to spare.
Earlier, after WI ODI captain Dwayne Bravo opted to bat first, the run-out of Chris Gayle in the first over set the tone for the innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was once again responsible for Gayle’s departure. The pacer collected the ball in his follow through to send back the opener without a run on the board.
Although Johnson Charles then found an able ally in Marlon Samuels to build a partnership, Jadeja, introduced into the attack in the 10th over struck to end it for 65. Diving to his left, the left-arm spinner pulled off a one-handed catch to send back Johnson. 12 runs later, a Raina delivery stayed low and knocked over Samuels’ middle-stump. With the wicket aiding spin and the batsmen continuing to be perplexed by it, Dhoni attacked with all the spin weapons in his armoury.
Darren Bravo continued to graft runs and was supported by Lendl Simmons for another 65-run partnership, until Raina trapped the latter leg-before. Narsingh Deonarine was the off-spinner’s next scalp four overs later. Attempting to sweep, Deonarine missed and saw his bail topple off.
With spinners getting purchase off the wicket, Dhoni handed the ball to Rohit Sharma who was also miserly in his short spell.
Joined by Dwayne Bravo in the middle, Darren Bravo decided to accelerate in the batting powerplay. While Darren lofted Jadeja over mid-wicket, his captain launched Ashwin over the ropes in the next over. However, in the following over, Mohammed Shami breached Darren’s defense and uprooted his stumps. And Dwayne, stepping out to Jadeja in the next over, was stumped by Dhoni. Darren Sammy, attempting to clear the ropes, was caught at long-on by Bhuvneshwar off Jadeja. Sunil Narine, who replaced him, handed a catch back to Ashwin and returned without adding to total.
Couple of overs later, Ravi Rampaul, taking the aerial route off Ashwin, was caught by Shikhar Dhawan after WI had trudged their way past the 200-run mark.
Chasing 212, Dhawan departed nicking Jason Holder to the keeper in the fourth over. But Virat Kohli then joined forces with Rohit to make easy work of the target.
Rohit held up one end and bided his time early in his innings. He soon overtook Kohli to bring up his fifty in 53 balls. Scoring at over six runs per over, they blunted the WI attack as they galloped towards the target. Kohli then reached his half-century off 58 balls.
With 68 run required, India took the batting powerplay in the 25th over. And off the last ball of the over, Rohit, taking the aerial route, holed out to Simmons off Rampaul to return for 72.
With Yuvraj Singh for company, Kohli brought India within sniffing distance of the target. He pulled Holder for a six to become the joint-fastest – along with Viv Richards – to reach 5000 runs in ODI cricket. However, he was caught by Narine off the very next ball.
Suresh Raina, who replaced him, followed him back. The India captain then walked out to the middle and got off the mark with a boundary off the next ball. In the next over, Dhoni hit Holder for a couple more. He, along with Yuvraj, took India to 212-run target with ease.
Man of the Match: Virat Kohli for his 86 off 84 balls