AFP – West Indies scrambled to a one-wicket victory over India with 14 balls to spare in the second match of the tri-nation one-day series.
Birthday boy Kemar Roach and last man Tino Best turned in match-saving performances at Sabina Park in Kingston. The home side were replying to the World Cup and Champions Trophy holders’ 229-7.
The West Indies tottered from the comfort of 142-3 in reply in the 28th over via a rash of irresponsible shots, as Johnson Charles battled to hold the innings together.
However the opening batsman joined the apparent suicide pact: he was eighth out for 97 and then Sunil Narine also gifted his wicket at 220-9.
It was left to the Barbadian fast-bowling pair of Roach — on his 25th birthday — and Best to see the West Indies home in a nail-biting finish.
“At the end we got over the line and that’s what matters,” said a relieved Kieron Pollard, West Indies captain in place of the injured Dwayne Bravo.
“In the recent past, West Indies teams would have capitulated completely, so it shows we have a bit of fight and character in this side.”
India were deprived of the calming influence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the field after the captain was hobbled while batting by a suspected right hamstring strain.
But under the supervision of Virat Kohli the visitors refused to give up, even when Charles and Darren Bravo (55) appeared to be tilting the balance decisively the home team’s way.
Their fourth-wicket partnership of 116 lifted the Caribbean side from the early discomfort of 26-3.
Umesh Yadav, who removed the dangerous Chris Gayle and Devon Smith in his opening burst, added the important wicket of Charles to keep his India’s hopes alive. He finished with best figures of 3-43.
Ravi Rampaul missed out for the West Indies with a twisted ankle, but his replacement Best played a key role in the victory.
He claimed the wickets of Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja near the end of the Indian innings before returning to ensure his team scraped over the line to consolidate their position at the top of the three-team standings.
The West Indies now have two wins from two matches and head to Trinidad to play India and Sri Lanka, before the final on July 11.
“It was a completely different wicket in the morning session,” said stand-in India skipper Kohli.
“It was two-paced and turning when we batted, but we saw none of that in the afternoon, but I think the bowlers, the way they fought, and the fielders, it was commendable.”