Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Sammy’s blistering knock helped the West Indies level the series
West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy’s trailblazing innings of 63 guided his side to a two-wicket win over India in the second ODI in Visakhapatnam.
Sammy was well supported by Kieran Powell, Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons, all of whom scored half-centuries to help the West Indies level the three-match series at 1-1.
West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo won the toss and elected to bowl first since the wicket had been covered for the last few days due to heavy rain.
His decision turned out to be the right one as India opening batsman Rohit Sharma cut the ball straight to Sammy at second slip to give Ravi Rampaul his first wicket of the match.
Sharma’s opening partner, Shikhar Dhawan, managed to score 35 runs before being given out lbw off the bowling of Veerasammy Permaul.
India veteran all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli stabilised the innings with a brilliant 69-run partnership, during which Kohli brought up his half-century, before Singh pulled a delivery from Sammy straight to Marlon Samuels at midwicket.
Kohli and Suresh Raina kept the runs flowing with an excellent 65-run partnership until Rampaul claimed his second wicket when Raina top-edged the ball, which fell safely in the hands of Dwayne Bravo at extra cover.
Rampaul picked up his third wicket just four balls later as Kohli was dismissed just one agonising run short of his century when he was surprised by a bouncer and hit it to fine leg, where Jason Holder took a fantastic catch.
Kohli’s outstanding knock of 99 came off 100 balls and included nine boundaries.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed a quickfire half-century during his magnificent 47-run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin, which came at a trailblazing run rate of 14.10.
Thanks to that 47-run partnership, India were able to post a total of 288 at the end of their 50 overs.
Dhoni finished unbeaten on 51 off 40 deliveries, which included three boundaries and four sixes, while Ashwin amassed 19 runs off 10 balls, which included two boundaries and a six.
Rampaul was the pick of the West Indian bowlers with four wickets, while Holder, Permaul and Sammy all chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing a tough total of 289 to level the series, the West Indies got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Johnson Charles was out caught and bowled to Bhuvneshwar Kumar for just 12 runs.
Samuels fell a short while later as he was caught behind off the bowling of Mohit Sharma for only eight runs.
Darren Bravo and Powell made up for the early losses the West Indies had sustained with a magnificent 100-run partnership, during which Bravo registered his half-century, before being caught behind off the bowling of Ashwin.
Bravo’s fabulous innings of 50 came off 54 balls and included eight boundaries.
Powell also managed to bring up his half-century before being stumped by Dhoni behind the stumps to become Ashwin’s second victim of the day.
Captain Bravo was the next to go as he was caught at the deep square leg boundary off the bowling of Kumar for 18 runs.
With the West Indies struggling at 185/5, Sammy and Simmons came to the rescue with an outstanding 82-run partnership, during which Simmons brought up his half-century, before being given out lbw off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.
Simmons’ fantastic knock of 62 came off 74 balls and included five boundaries and a six.
Holder fell shortly after as he was caught behind off the bowling of Mohammed Shami for seven runs.
Sunil Narine was walking back to the pavilion just three balls later as he top-edged a delivery straight into the hands of the substitute fielder at square leg.
Despite all the late wickets, India failed to defend their total and the West Indies went on to level the series at 1-1.
Sammy remained unbeaten on 63 off 45 deliveries, which included four boundaries and four sixes, as the West Indies won the match by a narrow margin of two wickets.
Kumar, Shami and Ashwin all snapped up two wickets apiece, while Sharma and Jadeja chipped in with one wicket each.
Dhoni was disappointed with his team’s performance, but ultimately blamed the dew for his side’s loss.
“There was a lot of dew, was difficult for bowlers to even grip the ball, let along putting it in right areas,” he said. “Toss was crucial. To take it to the last over was a superb bowling effort. The spinners did really well. When we went into bowl, there was plenty of dew, and it kept getting worse.
“It was very difficult to score runs and rotate strike. We saw that when they batted as well. If there was no dew, 289 was 400-odd on this pitch with so much turn and bounce.”
Bravo was over the moon at having levelled the series, and said: “Great team effort. Holder and Rampaul gave us a good start, can’t forget young Permaul. Once we got the Indians under 300, we backed ourselves to chase. We planned very well. It was a must-win game for us.
“We communicated well on the field. The bowlers executed. We fielded well. Bowling to MS, the best player in the world, is always difficult. Well done to young Powell, Simmons and Darren Sammy. Myself getting out at a crucial time. Our aim was for one of the top five batters to bat through the innings. We had four half-centuries today, so that was good.”
Sammy was named Man of the Match for his spectacular innings.
“I must thank my team-mates for giving me another opportunity,” he said. “It must have been difficult to do that, seeing how the series has gone for me. Simmons and I communicated well. We backed ourselves to get 90-odd in the last ten overs. Once I am hitting the ball nicely, it was always good for me. Good to contribute in a crucial game.”