Windies struggle with the bat; go down to India by 8 wickets

LONDON –West Indies were outplayed by India on Tuesday and lost their second Group B ICC Champions Trophy match by 8 wickets at the Oval. Johnson Charles scored a purposeful 60 at the top of the order and Darren Sammy blasted four sixes in a stunning 56 not out, but 233-9 proved inadequate. 

India made 236-2, with a brilliant run-a-ball century from left-hander Shikhar Dhawan, and moved top of the group. The Man-of-the-Match award went to left-arm spinner Rajindra Jadeja, who took a career-best five-wicket haul. The Windies slipped to third position and will have to beat second-placed South Africa on Friday in Wales to qualify for the semi-finals.

Windies captain Dwayne Bravo admitted the batting came up short, noting that after a solid start he expected more in the middle overs.

"We need to identify how we can become better and comfortable with the batting group and the middle overs when the slow bowlers are on, and try to pick up the boundaries and build momentum. At the moment we keep stalling in the middle and that’s where we lose the games. We don’t lose the games in the first six or in the last six; in the middle overs is where actually we lose it as a batting group," the captain said after the match.

Bravo was however full of praise for Sammy, who pulled the innings around from 179-8 in the 44th over with some phenomenal power-hitting. He added a record, unbroken 50 off 27 balls with Kemar Roach who supported well.

"I wouldn’t say he [Sammy] had something to prove. He got an opportunity and he did very well. It was the right situation for him and he played his natural game. Sammy is a very competitive person and he comes out there and gives 100 percent at all times whenever he plays for West Indies," Bravo said.

The captain said his team is looking forward to Friday’s showdown against the Proteas at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff. India have four points from two matches and have qualified for the semis. South Africa have two points (NRR+0.410), West Indies have two points (NRR -0.086), while Pakistan are yet to register a point and have been eliminated.

"Those kinds of games are some of the best games to play, to be honest, where the destiny is in our own hands, and it’s important we forget what happened today. We still have hope. If we win the next game, we’re on to the next round. If we lose, we go home. So I think we are aware of that. We just have to…improve on our mistakes we made in this game, and look forward to the next game," he said.

"South Africa has a very good team and a team that’s very well respected. We just have to make sure that when we turn up on Friday we are all ready to play, and it’s going to be like a final for us, and definitely we have to make sure that we win that game…it’s possible…it’s very possible. I know I have the right team and the right guys to turn around between now and Friday. Let’s see what happens on Friday…it’s going to be a very exciting game for the tournament."