Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck an unbeaten 46 off 34 balls to guide India to a six-wicket victory under the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain affected third one-day international against the West Indies on Friday.
India, who now lead the four-match series 2-1, needed 11 to win off the final over of the game and Dhoni whacked Jerome Taylor’s second ball for a big six high over midwicket to make the task manageable.
A smart innings of 62 from 59 balls by Ramnaresh Sarwan had put the West Indies on their way to a good total, but he was run out just when the home side looked to up the tempo.
The West Indies had made a flying start with skipper Chris Gayle smashing 27 off 14, but he went caught behind off Ashish Nehra just after the first of a series of rain interruptions.
The West Indies were 66 for one off 10 overs and with Sarwan’s intelligent batting they moved to 105 for two off 16 overs.
The rain reduced their innings to 27 overs and although the West Indies made 186 for seven, further delays meant India had only 159 to make off 22 overs.
Openers Dinesh Karthik (47) and Gautam Gambhir (44) put on 84 for their first wicket inside 13 overs to give the tourists a good platform.
Karthik was run out, then Gambhir was caught behind off Sulieman Benn’s spin and when danger-man Yuvraj Singh went for 2, caught by Darren Bravo off David Bernard, the West Indies had clawed their way back into the game.
India needed 16 off the last 12 balls, but Dwayne Bravo delivered the perfect penultimate over — getting Rohit Sharma out and conceding just five runs.
Gayle decided to bring back Taylor for the final over rather than allow Ravi Rampaul to continue and the gamble did not work as Dhoni’s big six, after Yusuf Pathan had scrambled a single, ensured India needed just four off four balls — a task they completed without trouble.
The West Indies must now win the final match — at the same venue today — in order to tie the series.