India win despite Russell's heroics
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – An astonishing unbeaten 92 from rookie all-rounder Andre Russell was not enough to save West Indies from defeat, as India too found a saviour to steer them to a three-wicket win and an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match Digicel Pearls One-Day series here Saturday.
Entering the fray with the Windies on the ropes at 96-7 in the 30th over, the right-handed Russell stroked eight fours and five sixes in a breathtaking 64-ball innings that fired the hosts to 225-8 off 50 overs.
In reply, India crashed to 92-6 in the 23rd over before Rohit Sharma fashioned a superb, unbeaten 86 to get his side to their target with 22 balls left at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground. The right-hander hit five fours and two sixes off 91 balls and put on an invaluable 88 for the seventh wicket with Harbhajan Singh whose 41 came from 64 balls.
When Harbhajan fell in the 41st over with victory still not secured, Sharma posted another 48 for the eighth wicket with Praveen Kumar, who smashed two sixes and a four in a 15-ball, unbeaten 25, to see India home. The result would have been a major disappointment for West Indies especially after the way Russell fought back, and then leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (2-41) and captain Darren Sammy (2-49) got early wickets to rock the Indians.
Sent in to bat, West Indies found a pitch that seamed and Russell was just one of four batsmen to reach double figures as leg-spinner Amit Mishra (3-28) and seamer Munaf Patel (3-60) wreaked havoc. Opener Kirk Edwards edged his second delivery behind off Munaf to leave the Windies one down without a run on the board in the second over of the day. In-form opener Lendl Simmons then stroked 45 while Ramnaresh Sarwan got 28, as they stitched up the innings with a 65-run stand.
Simmons played beautifully, striking four fours and a lovely straight six off 68 balls while Sarwan was typically elegant in carving out two fours and a six off 38 balls. The stand ended when Sarwan was run out attempting a quick single and this dismissal sparked a slide that saw six wickets tumble for 31 runs.
Russell took matters into his own hands, dominating a 78-run eighth wicket partnership with Carlton Baugh (36) and a 51-run, ninth wicket stand with Kemar Roach (7 not out). With just seven international matches behind him, the 23-year-old unfurled an array of expansive off-side shots and massive leg-side sixes, to rally the innings and take West Indies to at least a competitive score.
He started slowly, gathering just five runs from his first 14 balls before erupting. He belted off-spinner Yusuf Pathan for successive sixes in the 40th over and carted off-spinner and captain Suresh Raina for two more sixes and two fours in the 49th over that cost 22 runs.
Russell finished the innings with a flourish, cracking a six and a four off the last two balls as West Indies gathered 52 runs from the final five overs.
India started shakily when opener Shikhar Dhawan (4) loosely drove the third ball of Sammy’s first over to Samuels at cover, at 26 for one in the eighth over. Sammy then gained a lbw verdict against Virat Kohli first ball but opener Parthiv Patel (46) and Subramaniam Badrinath (11) halted the slide with a 34-run, third wicket stand.
A bad mix-up in the 16th over accounted for Badrinath via the run out route and Patel, who hit four fours and a six off 56 balls, sliced Bishoo to Russell at point in the 19th at 79-4.
Captain Suresh Raina (3) mis-cued to backward point off Pollard before Simmons pulled off a fantastic, one-handed diving catch at short mid-wicket to dismiss Yusuf Pathan for one, as India slumped.
Like Russell did for the Windies, Sharma then came to India’s rescue.