Virat Kohli ton shuts out West Indies
Their spot in the Super League quarter-finals secured, top-of-the table India made a clean sweep of Group B with a 50-run win over West Indies at the Kinrara Oval. Virat Kohli's crackling 74-ball 100 was the crux of his side's 265 for 5 after they were put in to bat on a slow pitch, and it didn't matter that India's bowlers weren't as smooth because West Indies made a mess of their chase and crashed out of the Under-19 World Cup.
Virat walked in with India 116 for 3 in the 28th over, after West Indies had removed half-centurions Tanmay Srivastava and Taruvar Kohli, sculptors of a patient 102-run stand for the second wicket. While the two had been a tad sluggish, Virat was away like a rabbit. His opportunities had been limited so far and the Indian captain showed his intent from the get-go, collecting pulled boundaries and pushing the close-in fielders.
Finding the gaps successfully, Virat ticked along to his fifty from just 49 balls, one raised with a smash down the ground. An unflustered approach and appetite to dominate was complimented by some slick running between the wickets with Saurabh Tiwary, with whom he added 111.
With Tiwary struggling to time the ball off the square, Virat shepherded him quite impressively. He took most of the strike and led the way with his ability to convert singles into doubles. His acceleration during the end overs was unproblematic and his century came up twice, oddly enough, after the umpire miscalculated a four into a six. Kohli duly drove the next ball to mid-off and celebrated animatedly. From 199 for 3 after 45 overs India posted 265 thanks to Virat's clean hitting. He struck ten fours and four sixes - two of which came in the 46th over from Sharmarh Brooks - and there was no space he didn't pick in the field.
With a series of clattered fours, the West Indian openers were away but the aggression was short-lived. Kieran Powell, clearly not interested in running, did a proper Chris Gayle impersonation with meaty drives through the offside but top-edged Ajitesh Argal for a 20-ball 29.
Steven Jacobs was trapped plumb by Argal and an aggressive approach faded into a mixture of pushed singles and missed cuts after Siddarth Kaul nipped out Brooks and Adrian Barath in consecutive overs.
Darren Bravo and Devon Thomas stemmed the rot with a workmanlike partnership of 75, under an increasing run rate, but India pulled matters back rather easily. Thomas walked across his stumps to a slider from Ravindra Jadeja and Bravo (43 from 68 balls) was sold down the river by a poor call from Shacaya Thomas, who proceeded to miss a full delivery from Kaul a few overs later. Veerasammy Permaul and Dawnley Grant added a battling 26 for the last wicket but India's slow bowlers wrapped up victory in the 48th over.
India will next meet England, runner-up in Group D, at this very venue on February 24.
Jamie Alter is a staff writer at Cricinfo