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Opener Shikhar Dhawan’s sparkling 119 powered India to an emphatic five-wicket victory on Wednesday in the third and final one-day international against West Indies which also saw the hosts clinch the series 2-1.

India first restricted West Indies to 263 for five and then overhauled the target with 23 balls to spare for their sixth straight ODI series win.

Dhawan sizzled and notched his fifth ODI hundred, while Yuvraj Singh scored a 74-ball 55 and it was their 129-run partnership for the third wicket that laid the platform for India’s success at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur.

Though Dhawan and Yuvraj were dismissed with India just under 50 away from the target, it only afforded the chance for India’s other out-of-form batsman, Suresh Raina (34 off 43 balls), to play a pressure-free cameo on his birthday, with the result never in doubt.

Earlier, the trio of Kieran Powell, Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo struck half-centuries to propel West Indies to a challenging total. Powell (70) carried on his good form from the last match and registered his second fifty of the series. He also raised 117 runs for the second wicket with Samuels (71).

Though the Indian spinners struck back by claiming four quick wickets for 59 runs, Darren Bravo (51 not out) and Darren Sammy (37 not out) finished the innings with a flourish by adding 67 runs from 8.1 overs for the fifth wicket.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was delighted with his bowlers’ display. Having been at the receiving end of the recent seven-match one-day series against Australia which India won 3-2, the Indian bowlers put up a better show in this series, especially in the death overs.

Dhoni said: “If you compare the Australia series to the kind of death bowling we did today...even if we were missing the yorkers, it was not by much. They were ending up as low full tosses and that is a big improvement for us.

“We bowled well, but were unlucky, some edges did not carry, there were lots of play-and-misses.

“Also in the middle overs, the two spinners (R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja) and Raina’s displays have been a big positive.”

Dhawan, who has scored 1,150 runs this season from 23 ODIs this year, said: “We usually play on these kinds of tracks in Delhi and I am used to playing on them. I knew there would not be much bounce and the drives were on.

“This year has been great and I hope to continue to play like this.”

Virat Kohli, who scored 204 runs in thee matches and was adjudged Man of the Series, was already looking forward to the upcoming tour to South Africa, where India will be playing three one-dayers and two Test matches next month.

“All the batsmen have scored lots of runs and that is why we are the No1 ODI side now. I am just trying to make the most of the sort of form I am in now.

“But the most important month for us is coming now in South Africa, so good to get a few runs before going there. It’s a challenge but this team likes challenges. I think we are good enough to stand up to it and we won’t disappoint our fans.”

West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo felt that his team fought well in the series and were not disgraced. They lost the first match by six wickets, won the second by two wickets before losing the third.

Bravo said: “We did very well (with the bat), Darren Sammy played a fantastic innings, can’t forget the innings of Marlon Samuels. We lost a few wickets at crucial times. (Lendl) Simmons and I got out at crucial times, we could have capitalised better.

“So we were short by some 20 runs. Chasing 280 instead of 260 could have been a different ball game. We should have given a better bowling effort.

“But overall, it was a very good performance by the team. Defeating India in India has been very difficult and we gave the No1 ODI team a close fight. Our players can hold their heads high,” he added.


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