| Man-of-the-Match Dinesh Karthik in action during the ODI against the West Indies at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Wednesday. Karthik top-scored with 63 in the hosts’ 189 all out. (AFP)
Cuttack: India finally dismissed Shivnarine Chanderpaul to pocket the second Pepsi Cup one-day International at Barabati Stadium. The hosts thus gained an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Chanderpaul’s Nagpur run ended in Cuttack, after a seven-hour-and-thirty-minute vigil at the crease (233 minutes at VCA Stadium and 217 minutes at Barabati).
Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who visited the VCA stadium briefly during the afternoon session, missed out on the Wednesday excitement — which India won by 20 runs after dismissing the West Indies dramatically for 169.
And the unlikely hero was Dinesh Karthik, who stood among the ruins top-scoring with 63, his best.
Chasing a modest 190 on the low and slow Barabati track, Agarkar provided the first break-through, dismissing the dangerous Chris Gayle in his very first ball. The stand-in captain, looking threatening when he started off with a boundary, was caught plumb off an Agarkar delivery.
Devon Smith, Marlon Samuels, Ian Bravo went in cheaply before the real partnership came. Dwyane Smith joined Chanderpaul in the middle as the duo stitched a 50-run stand before Sachin Tendulkar broke the partnership.
Smith’s shot off Tendulkar went high up in the air, failing to clear the ropes and landing in the safe hands of Ramesh Powar at mid-wicket.
In the end it was Powar who proved handy in the Barabati slow track. The burly off-spinner completed his quota, dismissing Denesh Ramdin with a tossed-up one. Ramdin, looking to charge down, was beaten in the flight and heard the death rattle. Powar’s 10 overs earned India three wickets.
Tendulkar ended with two, Ian Bradshaw being his second victim. Bradshaw ballooned one to Gambhir at point after failing to gauge a quicker one.
After a lean patch with the bat and ball, Joginder Sharma effected a run out in the middle. Fumbling while throwing in from the deep — Sharma managed a clean throw. Dhoni did not do any mistake either to run out Powell in the 47th over.
Even as West Indian hopes rested on last pair Jerome Taylor-and Chanderpaul, Zaheer Khan had some other plans. A faster one castled Chanderpaul’s run.
Earlier India folded up for 189. If Nagpur saw the hosts in their true colours, Cuttack witnessed the true blues — the Great Indian Batting Failure.
The only bright spot came from Karthik and Ajit Agarkar, who rescued the sinking ship with a 56-ball 62-run partnership. The 21-year-old Karthik top-scored with 63, a knock laced with flicks, pulls and drives during his 130-minute spotless stay.
Missing the line completely while steering the ball to third man off an Ian Bradshaw delivery, the tenacious Karthik, however, went on to make his best sc-ore in his eighth ODI. His previous highest was 17 against South Africa.
Their eighth wicket stand assumes significance as it came at a time when India seemed to surrender inside 100. At 90 for seven in 31 overs, Agarkar joined Karthik, with the mike in the stands blaring “Gehri sankat mein Team India (India in real trouble).”
With Daren Powell having completed a dream 10-over spell from Mahanadi end, India looked in disarray. Powell, by that time, claimed his best figure (10-2-27-4) eclipsing his previous best 10-1-33-3 (versus Pakistan in December last year).
The Brian Lara-less team gained an upper hand over the experienced Dravid-led opponents. But Karthik-Agarkar had other plans. They crossed that three-figure mark easily, with Agarkar’s flick to the boundary in 33.4 overs.
Earlier, the top-four (Sourav Ganguly, Gambhir, Dravid and Tendulkar) hardly provided any entertainment to the raucous crowd. If Sourav’s dismissal — a soft one when he looped one to Runako Morton at short mid-wicket — was greeted with consolation from the stands, Tendulkar’s dismissal was booed.
But the real disappointment came from comeback man Sharma. Caught unawares, Sharma was cleaned up by a full-ish Powell delivery outside offstump.
Postscript: Dravid did not wear his No.19 jersey during the match. However, he sported that during the press conference… Maybe he knew it would be lucky that way.