India aims for second ODI series triumph in West Indies

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India would be aiming to notch up only their second ODI series triumph in the Caribbean when they take on the West Indies in the fourth and final one-dayer

Updated: July 04, 2009 13:42 IST
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Gros Islet (St Lucia):

India would be aiming to notch up only their second ODI series triumph in the Caribbean when they take on the West Indies in the fourth and final one-dayer here on Sunday.

The thrilling six-wicket triumph in the rain-truncated third one-dayer has given India a 2-1 lead in the series and a win tomorrow would give the team a second series triumph here and partly make amends for the early exit from the World Twenty20 in England.

The last time India won an ODI series in West Indies was 2002 when Sourav Ganguly led them to a 2-1 triumph in a five-match series, two games of which were abandoned due to rain.

But the hosts extracted revenge in 2006 when they hammered the Rahul Dravid-led Indians 1-4. In the ongoing series, the visitors, under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have not been too convincing.

The hosts almost chased down the over 300 runs target that the Indians had set in the first match.

The next game was total humiliation for Dhoni's men when pace surprise Ravi Rampaul exploited the Indian susceptibility against the short ball and wrecked havoc with a career-best four-wicket haul.

The visitors were humbled by eight wickets before scraping through in the final over to win the third match on Friday.

Had it not been for Dhoni's last-over heroics, the team might just have ended on the losing side in a match where target was revised twice after five rain interruptions in all. "Overall, I am quite happy with the performance," said Dhoni.

"When it comes down to the wire it can go either way, the most important thing is that you have game breakers and match-winners in at that situation," added coach Gary Kirsten. The West Indies have been no less inconsistent and have been expectedly relying too heavily on skipper Chris Gayle in batting.

But the likes of Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan have also made their presence felt with crucial contributions. The bowlers, though, came in for mild criticism from Gayle yesterday as the skipper felt they weren't aggressive enough in the lost match.

The likes of Rampaul and Jerome Taylor, who peppered the Indians with short balls in Kingston, failed to get much out of the wicket here.

The hosts would be desperate for a win to prevent India from taking the full honours.

For the Indians, a win tomorrow would help them bury the demons of their World Twenty20 debacle and silence some of the criticism that followed the disastrous campaign in England.

A series triumph would also be a personal high for Dhoni after being under fire for his poor leadership during the Twenty20 World Cup, where his defending champion team failed to even make it to the semifinals.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has been in good touch with the bat, winning the match of the match award yesterday, and would want to cap it off by lifting the trophy.

The Caribbean has never been much of a happy hunting ground for the Indians where they have won just seven of the 23 matches played.

And it remains to be seen if Dhoni's men add another one to that small tally of wins against a side, that has begun to recover from the more-than-a-decade-long slump that had followed world domination.

The teams (from):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik, 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.

West Indies: Chris Gayle (capt), 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 7 pm IST.

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