MANCHESTER, England – West Indies’ already wretched campaign got even worse today when they were dumped from the World Cup without so much as a whimper, in a humbling 125-run loss to powerhouses India at Old Trafford.
Entering the contest already with little hope of qualifying for the final four, the Caribbean side’s demise was confirmed when they failed to chase down a modest 269 and were all out for an embarrassing 143 in the 35th over, suffering their third heaviest defeat in a World Cup in the process.
The loss was their fifth in seven matches and left them still eighth in the standings on three points, only above South Africa and Afghanistan, with two games remaining.
“I think the bowlers did a fantastic job on this surface. I couldn’t really ask them for more. The guys gave a really good effort in the field but I guess we just let ourselves down with the bat,” a dejected captain Jason Holder said afterwards.
Sunil Ambris, in his first game of the tournament after arriving in the country on Tuesday as a replacement for the injured Andre Russell, top-scored with 31 while Nicholas Pooran made 28.
They were only two of three top order batsmen to reach double figures and the only ones to pass 20 overall, in another weak showing by the side’s batting group.
Mohammed Shami wrecked the innings with an outstanding spell of four for 16 while fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah (2-9) and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (2-39) picked up two wickets apiece in support.
India had earlier battled to 268 for seven off their 50 overs after winning the toss and opting to bat, with captain Virat Kohli top-scoring with a Man-of-the-Match 72 and former skipper MS Dhoni getting an unbeaten 56.
Opener KL Rahul struck 48 and Hardik Pandya a vital 46 down the order, as India rallied against disciplined bowling.
Seamer Kemar Roach, in only his third match of the World Cup, led the Windies with three for 36 from his 10 overs while Holder (2-33) and fellow pacer Sheldon Cottrell (2-50) claimed two wickets apiece.
It was the veteran Roach who got the key breakthrough in the sixth over of the morning with the score on 29 when he removed the dangerous Rohit Sharma for 18 to a catch at the wicket, after resorting to DRS.
Kohli then combined with Rahul in a second wicket stand of 69 which repaired the innings and laid the foundation for India’s typical late assault.
While Kohli faced 82 deliveries and struck eight fours, Rahul counted six fours in a 64-ball knock before perishing in the 21st over, missing a drive at the persevering Holder and having his stumps shattered.
With India again consolidating, Roach returned to strike twice in successive overs and bring the Windies back into the encounter.
First, he ended a 28-run, third wicket stand between Kohli and Vijay Shankar (14) when he nipped one away from Shankar to have him caught at the wicket in the 27th over.
And in his next over, he got new batsman Kedar Jadhav (7) to nibble at a length ball, and feather a catch to Shai Hope, reducing India to 140 for four in the 29th.
However, Dhoni arrived to rescue his side, first in a 40-run stand for the fifth wicket with Kohli and then in a critical 70-run sixth wicket stand with Pandya, who blasted five fours in a 38-ball cameo.
The turning point of the innings came with Dhoni on eight in the 34th over when left-arm spinner Fabien Allen, on World Cup debut, lured the veteran from his crease only for Hope to muff the simple stumping chance.
West Indies were made to pay as Dhoni struck three fours and two sixes in a controlled 61-ball innings as India gathered 82 runs from the last 10 overs. His two sixes came in the final over from speedster Oshane Thomas which leaked 16 runs.
What should have been a straightforward run chase quickly went lopsided when Chris Gayle (6) mis-timed a pull to mid-on off Shami who then beat Hope’s drive with one that came back off the seam, to bowl the right-hander for five in his next over.
Struggling on 16 for two, Ambris and Pooran arrested the slide with a 55-run, third wicket stand which lifted the Windies to 71 without further loss.
Ambris, also on World Cup debut, faced 40 balls and struck two fours while Pooran also notched two boundaries in a 50-ball stay at the crease.
West Indies were clawing their way back, albeit slowly, when they were set back by the loss of both set players in the space of 15 balls with just nine runs added. Ambris played across one from seamer Pandya in the 18th over and was lbw and Pooran, looking to free the shackles, holed out to long off in the 21st over off left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Once the partnership was broken, the innings went into terminal decline as the last eight wickets fell for 72 runs.
Holder never settled and drove the 13th ball he faced to be caught at cover for six off Chahal in the 24th over and Carlos Brathwaite failed to repeat his heroics against New Zealand, edging Bumrah behind for one.
Fabien Allen was lbw to the very next ball to leave Bumrah on a hat-trick in the 27th over but Roach successfully negotiated the following delivery to deny the feat.
West Indies’ performance was summed up by Shimron Hetmyer’s (18) loose drive which found the lap of point in the 29th over from Shami, and which sounded the death knell. (CMC)