LONDON (AP) — India became the first team through to the Champions Trophy semifinals by beating West Indies by eight wickets on Tuesday following a second consecutive hundred from Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja's first ODI five-wicket haul.
After Jadeja captured 5-36 to limit West Indies to 233-9, a total inflated by Darren Sammy's late batting heroics in hitting 56 from 35 balls and a more measured 60 from Johnson Charles, India swept to 236-2 with 10.5 overs to spare at The Oval for its second win in as many matches.
Having scored 114 in India's 26-run win over South Africa last Thursday, Dhawan brought up his hundred by slashing a six over third man. He made 102 not out with 10 boundaries and a six from 107 balls, putting on stands of 101 with Rohit Sharma (52) and an unbroken 109 with Dinesh Karthik (51 not out).
The result eliminated Pakistan and ensured the winner of Friday's match between West Indies and South Africa also qualifies from Group B. Sharma and Dhawan were untroubled by the opening pair of Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul, producing an array of cut shots and backfoot drives that flashed to the boundary rope. With the weather looking ominous, the pair were in a hurry to stay ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis curve.
They scampered along to 48-0 off seven overs until Sunil Narine, West Indies' only strike bowler other than Roach, was surprisingly given just two fruitless overs to try and break the partnership. He later returned, however, after the 100-run stand from 92 balls to remove Sharma.
Sharma's 15th ODI half-century featured seven fours before he was given out caught behind by Charles on appeal in the 16th over. Soon after, Dhawan brought up his 50 from 45 deliveries. The only chance he offered was a skied hook on 41 that Roach squandered at fine leg off Dwayne Bravo.
Narine was not done yet, however, bowling Virat Kohli for 22 off 18 balls with a turning delivery that somehow missed his blade to make it 127-2. The scoring slowed somewhat, but Dhawan and Karthik calmly steered India past the 200 mark until the weather intervened.
Persistently omnipresent, rain had nevertheless yet to play a part until it stopped play with the total on 204-2 after 35.1 overs. Although India was 76 runs ahead of West Indies on the Duckworth-Lewis Method at the time. Luckily, play restarted after a 28-minute interlude with no overs lost.
Just as it looked like Karthik's heavy scoring would deny Dhawan another ton, a full-blooded slash brought the majority Indian crowd to their feet in acclaim. Karthik had them up again with a boundary to score his sixth ODI half-century, featuring eight fours from 58 balls, and end the match.
Earlier, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle all got starts after West Indies lost the toss and was sent in under overcast clouds. Gayle entered the match as the leading scorer in the seven-edition history of the tournament with 734 runs, 452 in boundaries, and he added 21 runs and four fours before being well caught by Ravichandran Ashwin at first slip off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Charles went on the attack, striking five boundaries from seven balls at one stage. But sixth-change bowler Jadeja came on to send down his left-arm darts, trapping Charles lbw with a slingy delivery to end a 78-run stand with Darren Bravo (35) and leave West Indies on 103-2 in the 20th over.
Thirteen balls and two runs later, Jadeja removed Marlon Samuels with an lbw appeal upheld by the TV umpire. Ramnaresh Sarwan was strangled down the leg side by Jadeja and brilliantly caught by Mahendra Singh Dhoni with the total on 109-4 in the 24th over.
Having taken 3-5 off 14 balls, Jadeja was held back for the final overs, allowing Ishant Sharma and Ashwin to apply the brakes mid-innings. All was going to plan until Sammy unleashed a late cameo in which, having crawled to 5 from 16 balls, he cracked a further 51 from 19 deliveries — the same amount of runs his team had made in the preceding 15 overs.
Sammy belted 21 runs off the last over of Sharma, whose figures ballooned from 1-22 to 1-43. He took his toll on Jadeja's numbers, too. They went from 5-15 in eight overs to adding 21 further runs 12 balls later.
Not bad for a player who was only included in West Indies' team because of Denesh Ramdin's suspension for breaching the ICC's Code of Conduct for claiming a catch he failed to hold in the two-wicket win against Pakistan on Friday.