This match threatened to deceive, as India crawled along when they batted, only to discover, when West Indies batted, that they had scored nearly twice as much as they needed. Whether that is a testimony to the conditions, India’s good bowling, West Indies’ bad batting, or just the situation that both teams find themselves in is another matter entirely, but whatever the case 268 versus 143 all out is not a particularly interesting match to watch.
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Five Things We Learned:
(1) West Indies are out
I had forgotten that West Indies were, in theory, still in the race for a semi-finals position before this match, but, looking at how they played, their hearts were never really in it. They went through the motions here, especially when they batted. If West Indies were still in the kind of form they were in early in the tournament, they might have beaten India, but right now they look like minnows.
(2) MS Dhoni is still a good finisher
He is due to celebrate his 38th birthday next week and no longer plays tests but he is still very good at finishing the innings, of sizing up the situation and working out what is required. The first really great finisher was Chris Harris of New Zealand, but that was bettered significantly by Australia’s Michael Bevan while South Africa’s Lance Klusener put his own spin on finishing an innings. Coming much later than the trail blazers, MS Dhoni has had a lot to base it on, and he has a little bit of all of those who came before him. This time around he was the embodiment of Chris Harris, not looking like much but making sure that India weren’t bowled out and had enough firepower to go hard at the end. Without him, India may have struggled to get to 200, and then perhaps West Indies might have won. It was just what was required.
(3) Virat Kohli can be hard to watch
Virat Kohli is the kind of player who you don’t mind watching as a neutral but he is very hard to watch when you are on the opposite team. In this match he was at his worst and it was very difficult to watch. There is a fine line between passion and bad sportsmanship and Kohli regularly crosses it. While he won a lot of respect for telling people not to boo Steve Smith, he lost a lot of it in this match. He won the man of the match award for some reason, perhaps due to getting the most runs, but his major contribution was the attitude he displayed while batting and fielding and his post-match comments, where he said that India won by not aiming for 300. Ugh.
(4) West Indies still don’t know what to do with Carlos Braithwaite
After his match winning innings in the World T20, he has been there for his potential so many times, and so often he has failed. Here he didn’t bowl at all until right at the death, where he was pummelled all around, and the man he was covering, Oshane Thomas, ended up coming back. With the bat he scored 1 off 5 balls. So much for his century against New Zealand that nearly stole victory, he was back to his disastrous norm.
(5) Mohammad Shami did well
He didn’t look good in his hat-trick in the last match against Afghanistan but here he bowled much better in his 4/16 off 6.2 overs, but didn’t get the man of the match award. It’s hard to know who should have gotten the man of the match award. Perhaps it was won with the batting. Shami certainly was a candidate, along with Dhoni and perhaps Kohli. This is the best Shami has bowled this tournament and I probably would have given him the man of the match award.