India cling on for victory
Yuvraj Singh dominates as India beat the West Indies by 20 runs in first ODI.
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2009 03:25 GMT

Yuvraj Singh leaps for joy at his century [AFP] 
Yuvraj Singh smashed 131 off 102 balls before India hung on for a 20-run victory over West Indies in a high-scoring first one-day cricket international at Sabina Park in Kingston.

Yuvraj's 12th one-day century, spiced with 10 fours and seven sixes, set up India's mammoth total of 339-6 off 50 overs.

The home team battled gamely before being bowled out for 319 with 11 deliveries remaining.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul top scored with 63 off 59 balls.

Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, in his first international since September 2005, claimed 3-49, including the final wicket.

Off spinner Yusuf Pathan took 3-56.

Tense finish

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised his match-winner Yuvraj after the tense finish.

"He has been brilliant in the last couple of years. He has evolved as a batsman,'' Dhoni said.

"We have been relying a lot on him when it comes to the middle-order batting and he has proved himself. Every time we need him, he is there to score those runs.''

Opener Dinesh Karthik hit a career-best 67 off 77 balls, Dhoni cracked a vital 41, and Pathan (40 not out) and Harbhajan Singh (21 not out) supplied late-over fireworks.

Left-handed Yuvraj entered with India, missing injured stars Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, in trouble at 32-2 in the eighth over after winning the toss.

Gautam Gambhir (13) and Rohit Sharma (4) both fell to pull strokes.

But Karthik and Yuvraj pulled their side around in a level-headed third-wicket stand of 135 off 129 balls.

Karthik reached his half-century first, off 54 balls.

Yuvraj paced his innings spectacularly, arriving at his 50 off 54 balls and then plundering 79 runs off his next 47 deliveries.

Karthik, who hit six fours and a six, eventually fell trying to scoop Dave Bernard at 167-3 in the 29th over.

Dominant batting

Yuvraj and Dhoni maintained India's dominance in a fourth-wicket stand of 86 off 57 balls, including 62 off five overs of the batting powerplay.

Bravo claimed Yuvraj and Ravindra Jadeja in successive balls to slow India.

Dhoni was also run out towards the end but Pathan and Harbhajan (21 not out off 13 balls) delivered a strong conclusion with an unbroken stand of 41 off 24 balls.

West Indies captain Chris Gayle (37) and Runako Morton (42) set a platform with an opening stand of 65 off 59 balls.

But Nehra claimed the key wicket of Gayle when the left-hander lofted to mid-on where Harbhajan held a fine catch running back.

After Morton fell to a disputed leg side catch off Pathan at 100-2, the West Indies middle order maintained its composure and Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chanderpaul shared a half-century stand.

Sarwan struck three sixes and a four in 45 off 42 balls before his run out shifted the momentum.

Chanderpaul took control after that and even though he lost the Bravo brothers cheaply, the match was still not beyond the home team.

Dwayne Bravo (8) was unluckily caught off a high full toss that should have been called no-ball while his left-handed brother Darren, on debut, holed out to deep midwicket after scoring a composed 19.

Chanderpaul eventually fell at 224-5 in the 36th over as he picked out deep midwicket.

The veteran left-hander hit three fours and three sixes off 59 balls.

West Indies soon slipped to 250-7 and India thought it had the victory sewn up.

But Denesh Ramdin (29) and Bernard (19) rallied the lower order.

"Most of the guys thought we had won the game when they were seven down.

That's the mistake we committed,'' Dhoni admitted. "Hopefully, we won't commit it again.''

The second contest in the four-match series is at the same venue on Sunday.

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