x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Bravo's brilliance stuns India

Dwayne Bravo's all-round brilliance helped West Indies pull off a shock win over India in the World Twenty20 at Lord's.

Dwayne Bravo's all-round brilliance helped West Indies pull off a shock win over India in the World Twenty20 at Lord's. Bravo struck an adventurous half-century to guide the West Indians to a seven-wicket victory in the Super Eights clash which has thrown open Group E. He finished unbeaten on 66, scored from only 36 deliveries, with the winning runs coming in the penultimate over when he lofted a majestic six over extra cover off Zaheer Khan. Earlier, Bravo claimed four wickets with the ball as the reigning champions India recovered from a slow start to set a 154-run target. West Indies also struggled at the beginning of their innings and Bravo walked to the crease at 42 for two in the eighth over. But his ability to manipulate the ball all around the wicket, married to his striking ability, meant Chris Gayle's team got home with eight balls to spare. The match was finished in a hurry as Bravo and veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul smashed 47 runs in the final 3.4 overs. Having set up that late dash with a cunning alliance with Lendl Simmons, Bravo made the most of being afforded a life on 27 moments before his third-wicket partner holed out for 44. A mix-up should have resulted in Bravo being run out by wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni but his failure to gather with the stumps at his mercy proved crucial. Later in the over, Bravo lofted the first of his three sixes and the second, a steepler over long-off in the 17th over, sent down by fast bowler Ishant Sharma, virtually sealed the result. Sixteen runs came off that Sharma over and Harbhajan Singh ? who bowled a maiden in the power play period ? was taken for 15 in the next. So much depends on the Windies captain Gayle in this format but his relative failure ? he was out to a skier after launching at off-spinner Yusuf Pathan ? proved irrelevant this time. West Indies now face England's conquerors South Africa tomorrow, knowing a victory will put them on the verge of the semi-finals. Yuvraj Singh had earlier revived India with a blistering late assault on a slow pitch. Destructive left-hander Yuvraj crashed 67 as the Indians recovered from 66 for four in the 13th over. West Indies neglected the opportunity to snare him later in that same over, sent down by Bravo, when Andre Fletcher floored a catch at deep square leg. Yuvraj was unbeaten on 32 at the time but a late rally of 34 runs from 11 deliveries provided his innings with real impetus. Three wickets inside the power play overs forced India to readjust their sights, after winning the toss, on a pitch which Sri Lanka and Pakistan struggled to score fluently on earlier in the day. Openers Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir were both undone by miscued pulls ? the latter to a brilliant running catch, taken over his head, by Simmons. When captain Dhoni drilled straight to deep cover, West Indies would have harboured hopes of chasing something closer to a run-a-ball. But Yuvraj opened his shoulders to stunning effect during a 64-run stand with Yusuf, which came off just 35 balls. His most audacious stroke came off Jerome Taylor when he whipped a full delivery off the stumps over the rope at deep midwicket. Yusuf, whose own cameo reaped three fours and a six, perished in the final over when he picked out Simmons in the deep for 31. But Harbhajan finished the innings in style by finding the boundary with the final three deliveries. *PA Sport