West Indies vs India,4th ODI Match – Antigua.
Simmons, Pollard help WI to 249
WI 249/8 (50.0 Ovs)
A shaky West Indies were once again looking at Lendl Simmons to take them to a fighting total. Their batsman of the season so far looked the only man comfortable against India's varied attack, reaching his ninth score of at least 40 out of the 27 innings he has played. He went at a strike-rate of 87 even though West Indies played out six maidens in the first 25. That he hasn't gone past 77 in his career suggests mid-innings dismissals and thus presented a cause for concern for West Indies.
Once again asking West Indies to bat first, preying on their weaker suit, India were all over the hosts. Praveen Kumar began with three successive maidens along with the wicket of Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ishant Sharma made a decent return to international cricket with a wicket in his first over, and even though West Indies threatened to exercise some control over Amit Mishra for the first time, Darren Bravo got out to him in a manner that cannot be termed smart.
Praveen was a perfect mix of control and swing. The outswinger never presented width, the inswinger was never too straight. If there was a handkerchief placed on a good-length area two stumps outside off, Praveen would have hit it again and again with swing either way. The damage, though, began at Ishant's end. In his first two overs, Ishant extracted disconcerting bounce, one of those deliveries taking the shoulder of Danza Hyatt's bat. Praveen's asphyxiation soon resulted in Sarwan cutting him straight to point.
Simmons meanwhile started attacking the bowlers. He pulled Ishant with authority, and pushed Mishra onto the defensive with two sixes in his first over. At that stage, at 63 for 2 after 14 overs, West Indies seemed on recovery path. In Mishra's next over, though, Bravo deserted Simmons. After playing five dots, he charged at Mishra and flicked him into the wind and into a heavily populated leg side. All Simmons could do was stare at his team-mate, with hands on his hips.
Mishra was back into his groove now. Those two sixes were followed by three maidens out of four. In his sixth over, Mishra dismissed Marlon Samules with a googly to establish the kind of control he has enjoyed all series long.