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February 11, 2006
India 284 for 9 (Pujara 97, Dhiman 74, Searles 6-68) beat West Indies 158 (Fletcher 44, Yomahesh 4-25) by 126 runs
Gaurav Dhiman (74) and Cheteshwar Pujara (97) added 110 from just 14 overs as India set off at a breakneck pace.And although Leon Johnson's men restored order in the second half of the innings - opening bowler Javon Searles captured 6 for 68 - the final total of 284 for 9 was always likely to be too many for the West Indies.
Dhiman and Pujara came out with all guns blazing after Ravikant Shukla won the toss and, against bowlers and fielders that looked off the pace, they raced along. The tone was set by the first ball of the match, by Searles. It went for five wides down the leg-side - one of 15 he bowled and 28 the West Indies conceded out of 33 extras - and after just one over India had 12 runs on the board.
West Indies may have been suffering from their exertions the previous day when they beat South Africa, in energy-sapping conditions, to book their Super League quarter-final place. Whatever the reason, Dhiman, in particular, took full advantage. Three fours came in Kemar Roach's third over, which cost 15, to bring up India's 50 in just six overs. Johnson, in a bid to regain control of the match, turned to spin in just the eighth over.
The change in pace made little difference and, after 10 overs, India had raced to 83 without loss; Dhiman and Pujara had registered only the second century opening stand of the tournament. They had posted the other one too, a brilliant 147 against Namibia last Monday.
They were eventually separated when Dhiman was stumped by William Perkins and Pujara was then joined by Rohit Sharma who continued the assault. Sharma made his second successive fifty, scoring exactly 50 from 57 balls with six fours, and at 209 for 1 with 15 overs left, India looked set for a score of around 320.
But Sharma's dismissal led to a minor batting slide, and only Ravindra Jadeja (10) made double figures. Pujara eventually fell just three runs short of his hundred to Searles.
The West Indies' run-chase never got going. Their opener, Andre Fletcher, top-scored with 44 but the only other players to pass 20 were Searles (22) and Narine (29*). Vijaykumar Yomahesh (4 for 25) and Dhiman (3 for 27) ripped the top order apart, helped by brilliant fielding. Abu Nechim Ahmed's flying leap at mid-on to catch Gajanand Singh was just one of the highlights of their effort.
"We won the game in the first hour of our fielding effort," Venkatesh Prasad, the India coach, said afterwards. "We were aware of their strengths as a batting side as we watched footage of them the night before the game.
"We bowled to our strengths and stuck to the basics and that catch at mid-on will be one of the catches of the tournament."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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