NORTH SOUND, Antigua, (CMC) – West Indies stunned India by 11 runs in a bizarre low-scoring encounter here Sunday to snap their losing streak and haul themselves back into the five-match series.
All but written off after struggling to an inadequate 189 for nine off their 50 overs at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, the Caribbean side bounced back spectacularly to bowl the tourists out for a shocking 178 with two balls remaining.
At the heart of the effort was skipper Jason Holder who snatched a career-best five for 27 while fellow fast bowler Alzarri Joseph claimed two for 46.
Opener Ajinkya Rahane top-scored with 60 – his fourth consecutive score over fifty – while wicketkeeper MS Dhoni chimed in with 54 but none of the other batsmen showed any enterprise.
Kyle Hope and Evin Lewis had earlier both top-scored with 35 in a 57-run opening stand, while Shai Hope made 25 and Roston Chase, 24.
Seamers Umesh Yadav (3-36) and Hardik Pandya (3-40) hurt the innings with three wickets apiece while left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav picked up two for 31.
The opening stand was a slow one requiring 87 balls and Kyle Hope had struck four boundaries in a 63-ball knock when he holed out to deep cover off Pandya in the 18th over.
His opening partner Lewis followed in the 22nd over after counting two fours and two sixes off 60 deliveries when he tugged Kuldeep to Virat Kohli at short mid-wicket at 80 for two.
Shai Hope and Chase then added 41 for the third wicket in a promising stand before West Indies suffered a dramatic decline and lost six wickets for 63 runs.
For the second straight innings, Chase was deceived in flight and bowled by Kuldeep in the 32nd over and Shai Hope departed to a catch at the wicket, trying to run Pandya down to third man in the 35th over.
A string of soft dismissals followed. Holder (11) gloved a leg-side catch behind off Umesh in the 39th over, Rovman Powell top-edged a swing and was caught at point for two in Umesh’s next over before Jason Mohammed (20) picked out point with Pandya in the 42nd over.
Tottering on 162 for seven, West Indies then scraped together 27 runs from the last 52 balls, in a meek end to the innings.
India started poorly in reply, losing three quick wickets to slump to 47 for three in the 13th over. Shikhar Dhawan (5) clipped Joseph to mid-on where Holder took a simple catch at 10 for one in the third over and captain Virat Kohli perished for three in the sixth over, top-edging a short one from Holder to be taken by wicketkeeper Shai Hope.
Joseph then struck again when he had Dinesh Karthik caught at the wicket off a short ball for two, as West Indies took the initiative.
Rahane and Dhoni then came together to halt the slide in a 54-run, fourth wicket stand which saw India past the 100-run mark.
Right-hander Rahane faced 91 balls and struck seven fours while Dhoni uncharacteristically hit a single four in a 114-stay at the crease.
Rahane completed his 18th ODI half-century in the 26th over before departing in the 31st over, caught at the wicket sweeping at leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and with with 15 runs added off-spinner Ashley Nurse claimed Kedar Jadjav for 10 to a catch at the wicket to leave India 116 for five in the 36th over.
Dhoni and Pandya put on a valuable 43 off 57 balls for the sixth wicket which seemed to be taking India to victory before a clatter of wickets brought West Indies back into the contest.
Holder yorked Pandya leg-stump in the 46th and in his next over had Ravi Jadeja holing out in deep for 11 at 173 for seven.
India needed 16 runs from the last 12 balls and seamer Kesrick Williams, in only his second ODI, bowled a superb penultimate over which cost just two runs and delivered the wicket of Dhoni – caught at long on by Joseph.
And with India requiring 14 required from the final over, Holder performed the final rites with the scalps of Umesh (0) and Mohammed Shami (1) to seal a sensational win.
India lead the series 2-1 ahead of the final match at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Thursday.