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Kohli, Dhoni’s half-centuries help India post 268/7


Manchester, June 27: Skipper Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni slammed contrasting half-centuries while Hardik Pandya smashed a quickfire 46 to help India post 268/7 in 50 overs in their World Cup group stage encounter against the West Indies here on Thursday.

Kohli slammed 72 off 82 deliveries, his innings studded with eight fours, while Dhoni took time till the final over to get his mojo back and remained unbeaten on 56 off 61 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes after India chose to bat first.

Pandya took 38 balls to score 46 (4×5) before holing out to Fabien Allen off Sheldon Cottrell in the 49th over.

In the final over, Dhoni took 16 runs off Oshane Thomas by hitting two sixes — off the first and last ball — and a four to put behind his woeful crawl in which he was let go twice by the Windies.

Dhoni was dropped by Thomas off his own bowling on 37 in the 48th over after wicketkeeper Shai Hope messed up an easy stumping opportunity when the former India skipper was batting on eight.

For the Windies, Kemar Roach (3/36) was the pick of the bowlers while Sheldon Cottrell (2/50) and skipper Jason Holder (2/33) chipped in with crucial breakthroughs. 

India lost in-form opener Rohit Sharma (18) early, albeit in controversial circumstances, when a Roach delivery pitched on good length and jagged back sharply, kissing what the Windies thought was the inside edge of Rohit's bat.

The onfield umpire turned down the appeal, but Holder decided to review it. The third umpire overturned the onfield umpire's decision and Rohit was adjudged to have nicked the ball as he left a gap between bad and pad, with Roach and the Windies celebrating.

The verdict left Rohit flabbergasted as he walked off shaking his head.

Kohli joined Lokesh Rahul (48; 64b, 4×6) in the middle and the pair stitched together a 69-run stand before the latter once again failed to convert his good start, as Holder castled him all ends up.

Vijay Shankar too could not put to rest the No. 4 slot debate, getting out on 18 after edging Roach to Hope behind the stumps.

Kedar Jadhav was promoted up the order ahead of Dhoni, who drew flak for his slow innings in India'a last game against Afghanistan. But Jadhav, who scored a fifty in the previous outing, did not last long with Roach again having him caught behind for just 7.

Kohli, in the meantime, added another feather to his cap as he became the fastest batsman to score 20,000 international runs when he reached 37. 

The ace batsman reached his fourth consecutive 50 off 55 balls but just when he was looking set for a maiden hundred in this World Cup, Kohli pulled a half-tracker to midwicket where substitute Darren Bravo took the catch off Holder's bowling. The Indian captain was livid with himself as his search for a century in this World Cup continued.

Dhoni, at the other end, was in all sorts of trouble, failing to time the ball and rotate the strike, a problem that troubled him during the Afghanistan game too.

Pandya upped the ante a bit with some lusty blows as Dhoni found the fence for the first time after 16 overs to underline his struggle. But Dhoni made up for his poor show in the last over to help India put up a challenging total on the board.

Brief scores: India 268/7 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 72, M.S. Dhoni 56 not out; Kemar Roach 3/36) vs West Indies

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