VISAKHAPATNAM, Nov 24 (IANS): The West Indies beat India by two wickets in a thrilling finish in the second of the three One-Day Internationals (ODI) at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here Sunday to level the series 1-1.
India scored 288/5 from their 50 overs after being put in to bat and the West Indies chased down the total with three balls to spare.
The visitors did not get off to a good start, losing two wickets - Johnson Charles (12) and Marlon Samuels (8) - in the first six overs with the score only at 23.
But opener Kieran Powell (59) and Darren Bravo (50) put together an important 100-run partnership for the third wicket to put the Windies' chase back on track.
The Caribbean side lost a few wickets in the middle overs but another good 82-run partnership continued their chase against the climbing run rate. Lendl Simmons (62) and Darren Sammy (63 not out) took the Windies from 185/5 to 267/6.
However, two quick wickets in the death overs poised the match for an exciting finish but Sammy made sure the visitors reached the target.
Medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, offie Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami scalped two wickets each while Mohit Sharma took one.
Earlier, Virat Kohli missed out on a hundred by just one run before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s fiery knock propelled India to a challenging 288 for seven.
Electing to bowl, unsure of how the wicket would behave after two days of incessant rains, the West Indies kept India under pressure for most of the time but the hosts scored 62 runs off the last five overs to steal the thunder from the Caribbeans.
Kohli showed calmness to soothe the nerves but only to fall victim to a rash pull as India were in danger after losing two wickets for 15 runs in the batting power-play.
But once again captain cool Dhoni stood to the task with an unbeaten 51, his 50th ODI half-century, to give India a decent total to defend.
Dhoni slammed three sixes and four boundaries in his 40-ball knock in an entertaining 47-run seventh wicket partnership with R Ashwin.
Kohli had to step in early after fall of Rohit Sharma in the fifth over and he batted sensibly, not going for the cross batted shots, even as the other Indians fell trying to speed up the run-rate.
The incessant rains due to ‘Cyclone Helen’ had forced the ground to remain under cover for two days and the wicket demanded the batsmen to show patience and play their shots in the V with straight bats.
Kohli showed how to do it with ease and finesse. He took the path of the singles and doubles with the occasional boundaries. He ran for 53 ones and five twos with only nine fours to inch one run shy of a third hundred here.
It was then perhaps that the elegant Indian batsman lost his patience briefly as paceman Ravi Rampaul denied him a well-deserved century.
Rampaul sent down a bouncer, Kohli swirled his bat and Jason Holder took a low diving catch in deep fine leg.
Sharma had a rare off day at his mother’s home town when he was taken at second slip to bring an end to a dream run, during which he scored one double ton, two 100s and an equal number of half-centuries in his last five outings.
After Sharma’s dismissal India crawled to 48/1 in the first powerplay. The West Indies clearly had an upperhand dismissing the other opener, Shikhar Dhawan, with an addition of another 48 runs.
Included in place of Narsingh Deonarine, Veersammy Permaul made Indians sweat under the scorching sun reducing them to 69/2 after Dhawan miscued one against the turn to be caught at slip.
Having remained under cover with the ground under water, the outfield and the wicket was very much unlikely of the better that the ACA-VCA Stadium used to offer.
The mighty Indian batting line-up had to fight for every run in the first 25 overs, in a phase where Permaul and Sunil Narine had put them the visitors an edge.
Kohli had a stroke of luck when on 64 when skipper Bravo dropped him off his own follow through.
India: R Sharma c Sammy b Rampaul 12, S Dhawan lbw b Permaul 35, V Kohli c Holder b Rampaul 99, Y Singh c Samuels b Sammy 28, S Raina c Bravo b Rampaul 23, MS Dhoni not out 51, R Jadeja b Rampaul 10, R Ashwin c Charles b Holder 19, B Kumar not out 1. Extras: (LB-1, WD-9) 10. Total: (For 7 wickets in 50 overs) 288. Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-69, 3-138, 4-203, 5-209, 6-240, 7-287. Bowling: R Rampaul 10-0-60-4, J Holder 10-0-63-1, D Bravo 8-0-54-0, V Permaul 10-0-55-1, S Narine 10-2-39-0, D Sammy 1-0-11-1, L Simmons 1-0-5-0.
West Indies: Jonathan Charles c & b Kumar 12, Kieran Powell st Dhoni b Ashwin 59, Marlon Samuels c Dhoni b M Sharma 8, Darren Bravo c Dhoni b Ashwin 50, Lendl Simmons lbw b Jadeja 62, Dwayne Bravo c Dhawan b Kumar 18, Darren Sammy not out 63, Jason Holder c Dhoni b Mohammed Shami 7, Sunil Narine c sub (AT Rayudu) b Mohammed Shami 0, Veerasammy Permaul not out 0. Extras: (lb 7, w 3) 10. Total: (for eight wickets in 49.3 overs) 289. Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-23, 3-123, 4-147, 5-185, 6-267, 7-285, 8-285. Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 9-1-56-2, Mohit Sharma 6.3-0-48-1, Mohammed Shami 7-0-55-2, Ravichandran Ashwin 10-1-37-2, Suresh Raina 7-0-42-0, Ravindra Jadeja 10-1-44-1.