India beat WI by 4 wkts!

Rohit Sharma led the way with an unbeaten 68, and Shikhar Dhawan scored 51 to propel India to a facile four-wicket victory over West Indies in the first One-day International on Monday.

Sharma struck three fours and one six from 75 balls, and Dhawan hit the same number of boundaries from 76 deliveries, as India, chasing 215 for victory, reached their target with 31 balls remaining.

Harbhajan Singh hit the winning runs with a six over deep square leg off West Indies captain Darren Sammy.

India take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series, which continues on Wednesday at the same venue.

"It was a pleasing victory for us," said India captain Suresh Raina.

"Our bowlers did a good job for us, and this was followed by Rohit and Shikhar.

"It was a bit shaky for us when he started our chase because the pitch was not all that good for free-scoring batting, but we rotated the strike very well, especially Rohit, and we got the job done very well."

India’s spinners, led by Harbhajan, took their cue from Pakistan before them, and restricted West Indies to 214 for nine from their allocation of 50 overs.

Harbhajan collected three for 32 from 10 overs, and led the five spin bowling options employed by the Indians, collecting five wickets, and conceding 125 runs from a collective 31 overs.

Ramnaresh Sarwan hit the top score of 56 from 94 deliveries, and Marlon Samuels made 55 from 75 balls in a third wicket stand of 82 that gave the innings some backbone, after West Indies, electing to bat, went into a tailspin on 59 for three in the 19th over.

Similarly, India were wobbling on 61 for three in the 16th over, after their batsmen found scoring difficult on the slow Queen’s Park Oval pitch.

Dhawan added 43 with Sharma for the fourth wicket before he was caught at deep mid-wicket off leg-spinner Anthony Martin in the 26th over.

But it was a stand of 80 between Sharma and Raina that put India firmly on track for victory.

Raina, whose 43 from 50 balls included four boundaries, was caught at long-on off Martin in the 41st over, and Yusuf Pathan made 10 then gave Ravi Rampaul a return catch before Harbhajan took India over the finish line.

"We bowled well, but we did not score enough runs to be able to keep the pressure on them," said Sammy.

Earlier, Praveen Kumar struck an early blow, when he had Lendl Simmons caught at mid-off for six in the seventh over, and Munaf Patel had left-hander Darren Bravo caught at slip for four in the next over, leaving West Indies 28 for two.

Harbhajan set West Indies back further, when Kirk Edwards was caught at slip off a top-edged pulled whip.

India met defiance, when Samuels joined Sarwan, and they revived West Indies, but the spin bowling remained a danger, and the hosts batsmen were never in full control.

Patel made the breakthrough, when Sarwan glanced a leg-side delivery, and was caught behind, triggering a collapse that saw West Indies lose their next five wickets for 37 inside the last 10 overs.

This is the first ODI series for India, since they won the World Cup on home soil two months ago.(AFP)


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