West Indies stun India with 7 wicket win
Let down by their much-vaunted top order, defending champions India flunked their first Super Eight test and sunk to a seven-wicket defeat against the West Indies in the Twenty20 World Cup on Friday.
Dwayne Bravo scalped four Indian wickets with the ball and then returned to hit an unbeaten 36-ball 66, studded with three sixes, to seal the match.
Earlier, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to bat first boomeranged as the Indian top order crumbled and it required Yuvraj Singh's (67) 43-ball blitzkrieg and Yusuf Pathan's (31) cameo to reach a competitive 153 for seven.
Bravo (4/38) and Fidel Edwards (3/24) shared seven wickets between them while laying bare India's frailty against short-pitch bowling.
India play England in their next Super Eight match here on Sunday.
Leading West Indies' chase, Chris Gayle (22) hit Zaheer Khan for two fours in the first over but had to exercise some caution when Irfan Pathan claimed the scoreless Andrew Fletcher with his second delivery.
Harbhajan Singh began with a maiden over to further straitjacket Gayle and the left-hander decided to go after Yusuf Pathan, only to manage a top edge and Zaheer positioned himself perfectly under the skier at short fine leg.
While Gayle featured prominently in India's scheme of things, few spared a thought about Bravo. But in the end, it was Bravo who hurt India most, adding 58 runs with Lendl Simmons (44) and then completing the formality in Shivnarine Chanderpaul's (18 not out) company.
Earlier, Yuvraj celebrated the news of his elevation as vice-captain with an electrifying innings to turn an utterly miserable Indian innings into a respectable score.
India were reeling at 66 for four in the 13th over when Yuvraj and Yusuf Pathan (31 off 23 balls ) combined to put on 64 runs off 35 balls for the fifth wicket to bring about a complete turnaround to the innings.
In all, 87 runs were scored in the final eight overs. Harbhajan Singh provided a thrilling finish with three fours off the final three balls to finish with 13 not out from four deliveries.
Yuvraj fell in the 18th over, becoming third victim of Fidel Edwards, but such was his influence on the game that West Indies were left ruing a dropped chance off him when the left-hander was on 32.
Yuvraj had then flicked Dwayne Bravo to deep square leg where Andre Fletcher made a mess of a simple chance and from then on the West Indians were made to pay a heavy price.
Most of Yuvraj's big hits were in his preferred onside area but none better than a little scoop of a hit off Bravo which cleared the midwicket fence for six. In all, he hit six fours and two sixes in his 43-ball electric knock.
India were helped in their mission by Yusuf Pathan. Pathan had hurt his shoulder badly when he dived to survive a run-out chance off only the second ball he faced. But a little help from physio and pain-killer spray and the right-hander played a critical innings for India.
Earlier, India's top batsmen had found the West Indian new-ball bowlers too hot to handle as they were peppered by searing pace and lifting deliveries.
All the first three batsmen - Gautam Gambhir (14), Rohit Sharma (5) and Suresh Raina (5) - were never entirely comfortable and India were clearly gasping for breath at 29 for three.
Edwards picked two of these scalps in his first two overs. Rohit was late on a hook shot and spooned it over at square leg and then Raina edged one to wicket-keeper.
Gambhir made it only worse for the Indians when his pull was brilliantly picked by Lendl Simmons who ran at least 30 metres backwards to claim the catch.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni struggled during his 23-ball stay to score 11 runs and it took Yuvraj and Yusuf Pathan not only to stem the rot but also to counter-attack.