KINGSTON, June 29 – Hosts West Indies levelled their four match one day international series with India here on Sunday with an emphatic eight-wicket victory, despite a magnificent 95 runs by Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Dhoni struck six fours and two sixes from 130 balls, as he almost single-handedly led an Indian revival, but West Indies’ final target of 189 in 50 overs was never going to be treacherous.
India bowled steadily, but West Indies reached the target with 95 balls to spare, following a workmanlike 85 from 102 balls from Runako Morton, and a typically robust 64 from 46 balls from Chris Gayle.
India had won the high-scoring, opening match last Friday by 20 runs at the same venue.
The series concludes with a pair of ODIs – this coming Friday and Sunday – at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St. Lucia.
India have only themselves to blame for their defeat, after they plunged to 82 for eight in the 22nd over after choosing to bat.
But Dhoni staged a rearguard action in the form of a 101-run, ninth-wicket stand with Rudra Pratap Singh before they both fell in the space of six balls as India were dismissed for 188 in 48.2 overs.
Singh made 23, and left-hander Yuvraj Singh, a century-maker in the opening ODI two days earlier, got 35, and was the only other batsman to reach double figures.
When Yuvraj square drove Ravi Rampaul for the last of his five fours, he became the fifth Indian batsman to score 7,000 runs in ODIs
But India were undermined by Rampaul. He snared a career-best four wickets for 37 runs from 10 overs.
India’s demolition was completed by Dwayne Bravo with three for 26 from nine overs, and Jerome Taylor with three for 35 from 9.2 overs.
Denesh Ramdin also became the latest wicketkeeper to snare five catches in an ODI innings.
India were in trouble from the outset in defending their total, when Gayle and Morton put on 101 for the first wicket inside the first 16 overs.
Rohit Sharma made the breakthrough, when he had Gayle caught at long-off, and gave India a boost, when Ramnaresh Sarwan was stumped for 15 to leave West Indies 132 for two.
But India failed to make further headway, and an unbroken stand of 60 between Morton and Chanderpaul carried West Indies over the threshold.
The West Indies achieved the victory, when Harbhajan Singh was clattered over long-on for Morton’s second six.
Earlier, India were on the back-foot from early on , when Dinesh Karthik was caught behind for four off Taylor in the first over.
Gautam Gambhir was also caught behind for a duck off Rampaul, who also had Rohit Sharma caught at second slip for the same score in the space of three balls in the second over.
India were seven for three, when Dhoni joined Yuvraj, and they breathed life into the innings with a stand of 47 for the fourth wicket.
But Yuvraj became the first of five wickets which fell for 28 in the space of 56 balls, and by the halfway stage, India had lost the majority of its batting.
Dhoni reached his 50 from 87 balls, when he worked Dave Bernard Jr into square leg for two, and with R.P. Singh frustrated West Indies until the 48 th over when Bravo struck.
Singh was caught at mid-wicket before Taylor brought the innings to a close in the next over when he bowled Dhoni with a slower ball.