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Scrappy India aim at series triumph

Gros Islet: India would be aiming to notch up only their second one-day International (ODI) series triumph in the Caribbean when they take on the West Indies in the fourth and final match here on Sunday.

The thrilling six-wicket triumph in the rain-truncated third ODI has given India a 2-1 lead in the series and a win on Sunday would give the team a second series triumph here and partly make amends for the early exit from the World Twenty20 in England.

The last time India won an ODI series in the West Indies was in 2002 when Sourav Ganguly led them to a 2-1 triumph in a five-match series, two games of which were abandoned due to rain.

But the hosts extracted revenge in 2006 when they hammered the Rahul Dravid-led Indians 1-4.

In the ongoing series, the visitors, under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have not been too convincing. The hosts almost chased down the over 300-run target that the Indians had set in the first match.

The next game was total humiliation for Dhoni’s men when pace surprise Ravi Rampaul exploited the Indian susceptibility against the short ball and wrecked havoc with a career-best four-wicket haul. The visitors were humbled by eight wickets. India scraped through in the final over to win the third match on Friday.

Had it not been for Dhoni’s last-over heroics, the team might just have ended on the losing side in a match where the target was revised twice after five rain interruptions in all.

Speaking on Dhoni, India coach Gary Kirsten said: “Someone like MS Dhoni can hit the ball out of the ground at any time so it was comforting knowing that we had him at the crease controlling the game.

“He’s had a magnificent series and he’s played some really good one-day cricket for us. When it comes down to the wire it can go either way… The most important thing is that you have game breakers and match-winners in at that situation.” Kirsten added that chasing in a rain-truncated match helped India’s cause on Friday. “It definitely helps a team batting second in this type of set up. It did suit us to be batting second because you can dictate the game a little better when the overs are shortening in terms of what you need,” he said.

Match starts at 7 pm IST.

(PTI)

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