India bow out with win
A career-best unbeaten 79 from Virat Kohli helped India end their Champions Trophy campaign with a convincing seven-wicket victory over West Indies at the Wanderers.
India, who needed Pakistan to beat Australia at Centurion earlier in the day if they were to have any hope of progressing to the semi-finals, did not get the desired result from the other Group A match, but turned in a professional display of their own to bow out on a high.
It was set up by their bowlers with three wickets apiece from Ashish Nehra and Praveen Kumar helping dismiss West Indies for a woeful 129 in 36 overs.
Devon Smith, David Bernard and Darren Sammy all got starts but none could press on as West Indies slipped to a third straight defeat.
India suffered an early scare in their chase but the impressive Kohli, who faced 104 balls, led his side home with 17.5 overs to spare.
West Indies struggled from the outset after being asked to bat first, with the early wicket of Andre Fletcher setting the tone – the right-hander sent on his way for a duck by Kumar after being caught at first slip by Rahul Dravid.
It took the Windies 3.1 overs to get off the mark when Kieran Powell smashed Nehra through extra cover for four.
But after a 26-run stand with Smith, the probing Nehra drew an edge from Powell straight to Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps. Two balls later Smith charged the same bowler and departed in a similar manner.
Captain Floyd Reifer survived a drop by Dinesh Karthik at second slip but was sent on his way by Kumar for one, the same fielder making amends with a much easier gather this time.
After the first drinks break, Dhoni surprisingly decided to bring himself on to bowl, but was belted for two fours from his first two deliveries by Travis Dowlin as West Indies raised their 50 from 101 balls.
He had his revenge later in the over, though, when Dowlin played on for 14 handing the India wicketkeeper his first wicket in international cricket.
Bernard and Sammy tried to rebuild with a 32-run partnership, but when the former fell the latter quickly followed and with it went West Indies’ hopes.
In response, India suffered an early scare when Kemar Roach forced Gautam Gambhir to play on and Rahul Dravid was excellently run out by Smith with only 12 runs on the board.
But Karthik and Kohli managed to stabilise things, taking their side to 34 for two after 10 overs when tea was taken.
They continued to stay calm, bringing up 50 in 75 balls, followed by Kohli’s fifty from 80 deliveries.
India’s 100 eventually came up in the 28th over, but the partnership came to an end on 92 when Karthik swatted Gavin Tonge straight to Dowlin for 34.
However, Kohli led India home to give them a consolation win and third place in Group A.