India hope to keep winning momentum going

India go into the second ODI against West Indies on Sunday, fully aware that they need to maintain their intensity right through the game.

updated: June 27, 2009 15:11 IST
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Having survived a scare in the opening match, India go into the second one-dayer against the West Indies here on Sunday, fully aware that they need to maintain their intensity right through the game to take an invincible 2-0 lead.

The Indians just about managed a narrow 20-run victory in the first match on Friday and appeared to be a little complacent in the later stages of the game. They very nearly paid the price for it.

The close game will serve as a wake-up call for the visitors who are determined to make amends for their World Twenty20 debacle by clinching the four-match series.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has already warned his teammates not to get complacent and it remains to be been seen how the Indians respond to their captain who finds himself under some pressure now.

With the dashing Virender Sehwag not available for the series, the Indians have struggled to get the starts though new opener Dinesh Karthik did well by scoring 67.

The left-handed Gautam Gambhir has not been in good nick for some time now and the Delhi batsman will be keen to rediscover his touch.

Yuvraj Singh, who clobbered a rollicking 131 in the first match, has been in excellent form and will have to shoulder the responsibility of taking India to a healthy total.

Bowling in the slog overs continued to remain an area of concern for India as home side was in the game till the end despite the tourists plucking seven wickets in 40 overs. They conceded 29 runs in extras.

In Dhoni's own words, giving pacer Ashish Nehra the ball in the closing stage was a gamble which paid off.

"It was a gamble. We were thinking of giving that over to an off-spinner or a pacer. Finally, we chose a pacer as the ball was getting reverse swing," he said.

Dhoni also admitted they had to toil hard to defend their mammoth 340-run target because his teammates got complacent after removing the top-order of the West Indies.

"Most of the guys thought that we have won the game when they were seven wicket down but it was a mistake and hopefully we won't repeat that. It was more close than thought," he said.

West Indies, who were brave in their chase despite losing wickets at regular intervals, will surely look to bounce back to draw parity in the series.

They needed one batsman to play a big innings like Yuvraj had done for the Indians and the others could play the supporting role.

That their bowlers let India recover to set such a massive target after twice applying break to their run-spree shows they needed to buckle up too. The West Indies' bowling appeared indisciplined as they did not maintain the right line and length on the slow track.

Skipper Chris Gayle confessed his batsmen failed to capitalise on the good start.

"We came close and the effort can't be faulted for the way we went about it. I think that we had a good start (to the innings) and a couple of the top-order batsmen got good starts, which we should have capitalised on," he said.

"It was a good effort. We batted well. Shiv played a top innings at the top," he said.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Yusuf Pathan, Murali Vijay, Subramaniam Badrinath, Rudra Pratap Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik.

West Indies: Chris Gayle (Captain), Denesh Ramdin, Lionel Baker, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Sulieman Benn, David Bernard Jr, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Runako Morton, Ravi Rampaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor.

Match starts at 8 pm IST.