Ashwin turns it India's way

Ashwin turns it India's way

Offie claims four wickets as champions post nine-wicket win over UAE

Ashwin turns it India's way

The United Arab Emirates, as their skipper Mohammad Tauqir would have us believe, may not have been intimidated by big boys India but they were definitely ill-equipped against the in-form defending champions on the bouncy WACA.

By opting to bat first upon winning the toss, the minnows did ensure that there won’t be another Indian runathon. But while the UAE avoided the battering of their bowlers, they weren’t quite prepared for the carnage that the Indian bowlers were going to unleash. For the record, India scored a nine-wicket win after replying with 104/1 in 18.5 overs while chasing UAE’s modest 102 all out in 31.3 overs.

Rohit Sharma (57, 55b, 10x4, 1x6) and Virat Kohli (33, 41b, 5x4) shared an unbeaten partnership of 75 off 74 balls for the second wicket to make short work of an inadequate total. 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, playing in place of the injured Mohammad Shami, and Umesh Yadav bowled difficult first spells. Yadav, in particular, was menacing; fast and incessantly hostile. But the real wrecker-in-chief turned out to be R Ashwin, who returned his best ODI figures (4/25). The off-spinner made most of the bounce in the pitch to have the inexperienced UAE batsmen in all sorts of trouble.

Only Shaiman Anwar (35) and Khurram Khan (14) managed double digits as the UAE were bundled out for the lowest total against India in a World Cup match.

The innings lasted about two hours and 10 minutes and India were back chasing the modest target before the dinner break. While Shinkar Dhawan fell early for his first failure in the tournament, Rohit and Kohli steered India home without much fuss.

Dhawan looked like a man in a hurry as he essayed three crisp fours but his fall slowed down things a bit, only if marginally.

Rohit and Kohli then took the total to 88/1 when the dinner break was taken with India needing only 15 runs for their third successive win. India took another 2.5 overs to complete the chase at 104/1 for a comprehensive win.

The WACA accommodates about 20,000 fans but there were no more than 9,000 of them on a sweltering Saturday, a far cry from Adelaide and Melbourne where full houses screamed India to victory. That the Indian crowd cheered on the UAE batsmen whenever they struck a boundary, and there weren’t many of them, was the sole consolation for the minnows who otherwise endured a wretched day.

UAE were coming into this match after two close finishes, albeit in losing causes, against Zimbabwe and Ireland. And while they wouldn’t have fancied beating India even in their weirdest of dreams, they would have hoped to be competitive against their formidable opponents who were on a high after scalping Pakistan and South Africa.

Lack of game-time showed on Bhuvneshwar who took some time to adjust his line and length though he produced some well-directed bouncers. Yadav started the procession by forcing Andri Berenger into an awkward pull in only the second over. Bhuvneshwar dismissed the other opener, Amjad Ali who gloved an attempted hook, resulting in another easy catch for MS Dhoni three overs later.

Yadav’s bowling, even though it came against UAE, would have gladdened the Indian skipper who was wary of Vidharbha bowler’s inconsistent form. There was no dip in his intensity nor did he lose his control like he has so often in the past after a bright start. 

If the pace and bounce of fast bowlers hustled the UAE batsmen, Ashwin tossed, teased and turned to hasten their end in an unchanged spell (10-1-25-4).

Having impressed everyone in the first two matches, the tall offie carried on his good form and his bag of tricks was too good to handle for a set of batsmen who rarely come across such quality bowling.

While the WACA pitch, without being menacing, offered enough for the pacemen to harry the batsmen, it’s the spinners who walked away with the bowling honours. With Ravindra Jadeja claiming two (2/23), the spinners shared figures of 6/49 from 15 overs.

Score Board

Ali c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar    4
Berenger c Dhoni b Yadav    4
(9b, 1x4)
K Chandran c Raina b Ashwin    4
Khurram c Raina b Ashwin    14
(28b, 1x4)
Patil c Dhawan b Ashwin    7
Anwar b Yadav    35
(49, 6x4)
Mustafa lbw Mohit    2
Javed c Raina b Jadeja    2
Naveed b Ashwin    6
(7b, 1x6)
Tauqir b Jadeja    1
Guruge (not out)    10
(16b, 1x4)
Extras (LB-4, W-9)    13
Total (all out, 31.3 overs)    102
Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Berenger), 2-13 (Ali), 3-28 (K Chandran), 4-41 (Patil), 5-44 (Khurram), 6-52 (Mustafa), 7-61 (Javed), 8-68 (Naveed), 9-71 (Tauqir)    
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar 5-0-19-1 (w-2), Yadav 6.3-0-15-2 (w-4), Ashwin 10-1-25-4 (w-1), Mohit 5-1-16-1 (w-2), Jadeja 5-0-23-2.


Rohit (not out)    57
(75b, 10x4, 1x6)
Dhawan c Mustafa b Naveed    14
(17b, 3x4)
Kohli (not out)    33
(41b, 5x4)
Total (for 1 wicket, 18.5 overs)    104
Fall of wicket: 1-29 (Dhawan).
Bowling: Naveed 5-0-35-1, Guruge 6-1-19-0, Javed 2-0-12-0, K Chandran 3-0-17-0, Tauqir 2.5-0-21-0.