Indians condemn Windies to winless record

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, CMC – The West Indies batting flopped and former India youth captain Virat Kohli stroked an unbeaten half century that steered his side to a comfortable seven-wicket victory as the ICC Champions Trophy ended its group phase yesterday.

In a match that became meaningless when India realized their hopes of advancing were scuppered by Australia’s win over Pakistan, the Indians comfortably chased a target of 130 and won with more than 17 overs to spare at the New Wanderers Stadium.

West Indies, beaten in their previous matches by Pakistan and Australia, were sent to bat and crashed to 129 all out in 36 overs.

India replied with 130 for three in 32.1 overs with man-of-the-match Kohli unbeaten on 79 at the finish.

The result left West Indies bottom of the Group A standings – on zero points — without a win and Australia on top with five followed by Pakistan (4) and India (3).

West Indies had looked insecure from the start against the moving ball and skidded quickly to 31 for four in the 11th over as Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra ripped through the top order.

“Our batting has been inexperienced and we have to work on that,” West Indies captain Floyd Reifer said.

“We bowled and fielded well,” he added.

Kumar started the slide when he had Andre Fletcher caught at slip without scoring in the first over of the innings.

The 19-year-old Nevisian Kieran Powell, in for the injured Dale Richards, fell next – caught behind for five off Nehra, who removed Devon Smith (21) in the same over, also gloved by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni at 27 for three.

Reifer’s dismal series continued when Kumar dislodged him for one.

Vice-captain Darren Sammy (23) and Dave Bernard (22) battled in a 32-run sixth-wicket stand after Travis Dowlin (14) had fallen at 57 for five, but India’s bowlers were rampant against the inexperienced Caribbean side.

Missing their top flight players because of the players’ contracts dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), the West Indies innings declined steadily as India tried to maximise any chance they had of reaching the semis.

A loss for Australia to Pakistan in a game that was nearing a finish at SuperSport Park in Centurion, would have kept India’s hopes alive and they ran through the remainder of the Windies innings.

Nikita Miller stroked a defiant 17 not out while Kumar (3-22) and Nehra (3-31) shared six wickets and spinner Harbhajan Singh picked up two for 14.

India endured an early slip in their reply and were 12 for two in the fourth over after Kemar Roach (1-27) bowled Gautam Gambhir (6) and Rahul Dravid (4) was run out by Bernard.

Kohli joined Dinesh Karthik and the pair posted a 92-run third-wicket stand that set up the easy victory.

Karthik (34) fell to pacer Gavin Tonge (1-36) when India were 26 runs away from the target and Kohli, who captained India to the ICC World Youth Cup last year, completed the job.

Dhoni rued their opening game loss to Pakistan and said that result cost them a spot in the last four.

“I think we didn’t play to our potential in the first game. The loss was very crucial,” he said.

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