|Scorecard:||India v West Indies|
|Player:||DJ Bravo, LMP Simmons, FH Edwards, Yuvraj Singh, YK Pathan|
|Event:||ICC World Twenty20 2009|
DateLine: 12th June 2009
All battle plans when any side plays the West Indies, the battle plans are always about how they are going to handle Chris Gayle. India did that well, but what they, and all comers will now realize, is that there is more in the Caribbean cupboard.
It was Dwayne Bravoís day, and the all-rounder did almost everything a player can ask for. He first picked up four wickets, and then came in to hammer a scintillating 66 not out to ensure that the unrated West Indies are now real contenders.
India, on the other hand, now have a pretty serious job at hand, having to win both their games, against hosts England and the very powerful looking South Africa, not a position they will relish.
India did most things right while Gayle and the top-order were in. They slowed down the bowling, giving Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan short burst at the beginning, during which Irfan claimed Andre Fletcherís wicket. Then the slow stuff from Yusuf Pathan and Harbhajan Singh was brought on, and it looked like a masterstroke.
Gayle was tied down by Harbhajan, who even sent down a maiden to the West Indies captain, and it was one effort to break the shackles that brought about a tip-edge from Gayle and India were ecstatic about the wicket.
But in came Bravo, very smartly promoted ahead of Ramnaresh Sarwan and he joined the very impressive Lendl Simmons in a stand that won it for their team. Simmons has brought some very sorely-needed energy into the West Indians. He is a livewire on the field, as was evident on Friday too, and his ability to score rapidly against all bowlers is something of a discovery for the side.
He kept Bravo some brilliant company as the two stitched together 58 runs with some great running between the wickets and brilliant shots. Bravoís ability to play inside-out over covers off the bowlers was something that was really outstanding, and he didnít put one foot wrong, hitting some superbly executed and brilliantly timed sixes, three in total, including the winning shot, to make it easy for the West Indians. His knock came off 36 balls and also had four boundaries, while Simmons constructed a fine 44 off 37, with five boundaries.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul came in when Simmons departed, and used his experience to great effect as he and Bravo took the West Indies galloping home.
The Indians, while batting, fell well short of what they would have expected to score, given the firepower they possess. Once again, the opening partnership did not flourish and that seems to invariably bring the middle-order into a bit of a situation.
Fidel Edwards began in typical whirlwind fashion and the Indian batsmenís efforts to attack him did not come off well. Rohit Sharma went early, and Suresh Raina too failed to negotiate the extra pace that the fast bowler generates.
Then Bravo got into action and a sensational catch by Simmons saw the end of Gautam Gambhir, and India were facing a pretty serious situation.
Bravo was in great form and between him and Edwards, they had the Indian batting up against the wall, especially since skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni seems to have lost his edge. He struggled once again on Friday and once he had gone, India were, at 66/4 after 12.1 overs, were in dire straits.
But if Dhoni has struggled, Yuvraj Singh has been in fine fettle and he celebrated his appointment as vice-captain with another fine display, as he waded into the attack with typical flourish. His 43-ball 67, and a 64-run partnership with Yusuf Pathan, who contributed 31 off 23 balls, was what guided India to the final total, with Harbhajan Singh too coming to the party with 13 runs off just four deliveries, cracking three boundaries in the last over.
But despite the late fireworks, it looked like India had fallen short of what even they thought was a total that would push the West Indies out of the contest. As it turned out, they were well short.