Bravo does it for Windies

India suffer seven-wicket loss in their Super Eights opener

Bravo does it for Windies

After electing to bat, the defending champions made made 153 for seven with Yuvraj bulldozing his way to a fifty and Yusuf mustering a useful 31. West Indies, in reply, registered 156 for three in 18.4 overs. Now India will perforce have to win their last two Super Eight matches against England on Sunday and South Africa on June 16 in Nottingham to enter the semifinals.

Chris Gayle was expected to turbo charge West Indian chase, but the Jamaican could not produce one of those explosive innings, finally succumbing to Yusuf Pathan while attempting to smash him out of St Johns Wood. But Bravo (66, 36b, 4x4, 3x6) played an exceptional innings of courage and poise to thwart the Indian charge.

There could not have been any better candidate for the man of the match award than Bravo as he had earlier taken four wickets to limit the Indians to a manageable total. Lendl Simmons, who had grabbed a sensational catch to dismiss Gautam Gambhir, too played his part with a well-crafted 41 while adding 58 precious runs with Bravo for the third wicket.

It was Yuvraj’s marauding innings that helped India to survive a sluggish start and their slow tempo during the middle part of their innings. The Punjab left-hander’s innings underlined the fact that even a couple of good overs can change the momentum in T20 cricket.

Till 15th over Indian innings, in a T20 context, resembled a race car running on flat tyres with a majority of the front line batsmen returning to the hut. It was left to Yuvraj, who was dropped by Fletcher off Bravo when he was on 32, and Yusuf the task of taking India to a competitive total and the duo did the job to perfection.

The hard-hitting duo joined at the crease when India were tottering at 66 for four after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni fell to Dwyane Bravo trying an ambitious cut that was taken at deep cover by Andre Fletcher. At that juncture, West Indies might have hoped to bundle India out for a sub-par score, but their calculations did not fructify as Yuvraj-Yusuf combine powered India with sensible batting.

The duo, which realised a vital 64 runs for the fifth wicket, amassed runs at a fast clip without taking any undue risks. However, one shot will be etched in memory for a long time and it has also emphasised the significance of improvisation in the ultra-abridged version.

Jerome Taylor, as it has been mentioned in the coaching manual, aimed at the block-hole, but Yuvraj, picked up the ball and sent it over the ropes for a maximum using just a flick of his wrist much to the disbelief of bowler and spectators alike.

But when Yuvraj and Yusuf returned to the dug out, India were still a few strokes away from posting a fighting total and the irresistible Harbhajan did that job creaming Bravo for three successive boundaries in the final three balls to take India past 150-mark.
DH News Service

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