India skipper Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni scored crucial fifties before the bowlers put on a complete show at Old Trafford to knock West Indies out of the 2019 World Cup semi-final contention. Here’s John Stern’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
India v West Indies
Match 34, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Old Trafford, Manchester
June 27, 2019
On the ground where, in 1983, India inflicted West Indies’ first defeat in any World Cup, they did it again, but more emphatically and predictably. It meant West Indies were eliminated, while India – having returned to the top of the one-day rankings following England’s defeat by Australia – marched on to the ubiquitous beat of the Bharat Army drums as the only unbeaten side in the tournament.
On the same pitch used for West Indies’ narrow defeat by New Zealand five days earlier, India’s batsmen were mostly kept in check by disciplined bowling, with Holder sending down 46 dot balls. But Holder’s decision to exhaust his and Roach’s allocations before the closing overs exposed his side’s limitations: an assault from Pandya, and Dhoni’s first fifty of the World Cup, brought 81 off the last nine.
Kohli’s fourth successive half-century, meanwhile, had taken him past 20,000 international runs in all formats. From 417 innings, he was the fastest of the 12 to get there, and the third Indian (after Tendulkar and Dravid).
However satisfied West Indies might have felt at limiting their target to 269, they needed a substantial contribution from Gayle, but he was quickly bounced out by Mohammed Shami. Two overs later, Hope, having bungled an easy chance to stump Dhoni, was bowled through the gate by an inswinger from Shami, who took his figures for the tournament to eight for 56, in two games. The innings never got going – Bumrah had two for nine in six overs – and West Indies lost their last eight for 72.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack