India maintained their unbeaten start to the tournament as they comfortably saw off West Indies at Old Trafford. Chasing 269, the Windies, who had scored 286 at this very venue against New Zealand a few days ago, were only able to muster 143 in response. Here are our talking points from the fixture.
West Indies officially eliminated
The West Indies have been officially eliminated from the World Cup following this defeat- the third team after Afghanistan and South Africa. The men from the Carribbean had their chances- most notably against Australia and New Zealand, losing from winning positions in both fixtures, and will be left ruing what could’ve been.
The Windies though have been too inconsistent, and today was another prime example. It feels like a side of some very good individuals, but not really a team, and their position in the points table reflects that. They’re very good in the 20 over format, but the longer the game, the more their weaknesses come to the fore, which explains their relative lack of success in both the ODI and test formats in comparison to T20’s.
Shai Hope misses a golden opportunity to stump MS Dhoni
While Dhoni was just getting started, he advanced down the track to Fabian Allen and was beaten in the air. Wicket keeper Shai Hope had two bites at the cherry to get the Indian star stumped, but squandered both, and Dhoni survived. MSD’s late assault was perhaps the difference between West Indies chasing 240-250 and the 269 they eventually had to.
Oshane Thomas and Carlos Braithwaite expensive for the West Indies
The duo of Thomas and Braithwaite went for 96 runs in the 10 overs between them. The Windies had kept a check on the scoring through the middle overs, not allowing India to get away (the remaining 40 went for just 172, less than 4.5 an over). Sheldon Cottrell did his bit in the death overs, but Thomas and Braithwaite did not, and both were taken to the cleaners by Hardik Pandya and Dhoni.
India the only unbeaten side remaining in the tournament
With this victory, India remain the only unbeaten side in the tournament, and have all but sealed a semi-final spot. Should they beat England on Sunday, Virat Kohli’s men could well finish the group stages without a single defeat- Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are their other two fixtures after the England one.
Should Rishabh Pant be included in the XI?
The fragility of India’s middle-order was again on show today, with failures for both Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav. The injury suffered to Shikhar Dhawan not only robs India of a premier batsman at the top of the order, but also their only left hander in the top six. If Shankar’s bowling is not going to be used, India may well consider the idea of giving Rishabh Pant a go. The young southpaw excelled in English conditions during the test series last year, and may be the X-factor to take this strong Indian team to even greater heights.
Mohammed Shami impresses again
Shami punctured the West Indies’ chase with two early blows, taking the key wickets of Chris Gayle and Shai Hope. He also returned later to remove Shimron Hetmyer and Oshane Thomas, finishing with 4/16 in 6.2 overs. India would dearly love to have the Moradabad speedster in their lineup, but it does leave their lower order batting a little too thin. An interesting headache for the think tank nevertheless!