India, riding on Shikhar Dhawan's second consecutive ODI century, stormed into the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy with a resounding eight-wicket victory over the West Indies on Tuesday.
The Indians first restricted the Caribbeans to 233 for nine, as Ravindra Jadeja (5/36) ripped through the middle-order, and then Dhawan again took centrestage with dazzling knock as India registered its second victory in as many matches in Group B.
The 27-year-old Delhi opener, who made a spectacular Test debut against Australia with a knock of 187, scored a match-winning 114 against South Africa in the opening match of the tournament.
The stylish left-hander yet again sizzled at the Oval; his unbeaten 102 helped the 'Men In Blue' chase down the target with 65 balls to spare.
The three-figure mark, which included 10 fours and a six, was achieved with a slashed six off Dwayne Bravo over backward point. He then played dot balls to allow partner Dinesh Karthik (50 not out) complete a well-deserved half-century.
Dhawan is enjoying a golden period in international cricket -- his three knocks since his comeback to Indian team are all centuries (187, 114, 102 not out).
India, thus, made it to the last four of the Champions Trophy after a gap of 11 years, the last time being way back in 2002.
The opening Indian pair is turning out to be a hit in the tournament. They added 101 in only 15.3 overs to lay the foundation for a comfortable victory.
Rohit, who is revelling in the role of opener, again scored a half-century. His 52 came off 56 balls, with seven boundaries. While Virat Kohli (22) couldn't cash in, Karthik , who hit eight boundaries in his 54-ball knock, proved an able ally as he and Dhawan added 109 runs for the undefeated third wicket stand in 19.1 overs.
India play Pakistan next, in Birmingham, on June 15.
Earlier, Ravindra Jadeja broke the back of the West Indies batting with a career-best five-wicket haul before Darren Sammy provided a late flourish to lift the West Indies to 233 for nine.
At one stage, crossing the 200-run mark looked difficult for the West Indies as they were reeling at 179 for eight, but Sammy played a blistering knock, which had five fours and four sixes, to give their bowlers something to fight for.
Sammy creamed paceman Ishant Sharma for 21 runs in the penultimate over, hitting him for two fours and as many sixes, as the West Indies scored 51 runs off the last four overs.
The West Indies had made a decent start, reaching 103 for one in about 20 overs, but Jadeja (5-36) picked three wickets in the space of 14 balls which proved the turning point of the innings.
The wicket of opener Johnson Charles, LBW to the Jadeja after scoring a classy 60, opened the floodgates and the West Indies slid from 103 for two to 109 for four wickets.
Given the overcast conditions, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to field after winning the toss on an Oval track that was used for the low-scoring Pakistan versus West Indies game on Friday. But only Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled the right length from the Pavilion End with the new ball. Umesh Yadav, from the Vauxhall End, was expensive, conceding 11 in his first over, and was promptly taken off.
The West Indian openers settled down quickly as Chris Gayle scored three lovely boundaries, including a couple of exquisite ones off Yadav at mid-wicket. Dhoni had marked out the left-handed Jamaican as the dangerman in the West Indian camp and it was Bhuvneshwar, who answered his captain's call for an early breakthrough.
Gayle was the first to go, chasing an angling Bhuvneshwar delivery outside off-stump. The healthy edge was brilliantly taken by the tall Ravichandran Ashwin at first slip. Gayle scored 21 off 18 balls and hit four boundaries.
Charles, who scored two centuries in his first 12 ODIs after making his debut in 2012, looked to be in promising touch. The right-handed 24-year-old from the Windward Islands took time to settle down but once he gauged the pace of the wicket, scored freely. He struck five boundaries off seven balls, three of them coming off successive Yadav deliveries.
Charles's 78-run partnership with Darren Bravo kept the pressure on Dhoni, who rotated his bowlers and even introduced the part-time medium pace of Virat Kohli in the 13th over. But it was Jadeja's introduction from the Vauxhall End that spelt West Indies' doom.
After enjoying a life at 32, when Ashwin missed a difficult caught-and-bowled chance, Charles was finally out LBW to Jadeja for a 55-ball 60, with eight fours and two sixes, after playing back and across to an arm ball that kept slightly low.
Jadeja's next scalp was the in-form Samuels, who scored just one. The Indians successfully saw their appeal for an LBW upheld after a review by the TV umpire.
Ramnaresh Sarwan continued his poor run as he nicked, trying to glance a Jadeja delivery that pitched just wide of leg stump. Dhoni held a smart catch.
An act of indiscretion cost the patient Darren Bravo his wicket. He should have been the one to hold the innings together till the last but he danced down the wicket to Ashwin, got beaten by turn and Dhoni did the rest. He scored 35 off 83 balls.
The sixth-wicket partnership between skipper Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard threatened to take the game away from India. Both batsmen, adept in the art of stroke-making, adopted some Indian Premier League strategy. Pollard’s first two scoring shots were sixes off Ashwin, but his belligerence was too good to last.
Dwayne and Pollard fell to big strokes after putting on 23 off 28 balls. Bravo (25) was caught at deep square leg, pulling a Yadav ball right into the hands of Jadeja. Pollard tried to muscle a fuller ball from Ishant but could not cross Bhuvneshwar at long on. Pollard scored 22 off 32 balls.
Sammy missed support from No. 9 and 10 as Sunil Narine and Ravi Rampaul gifted their wickets cheaply. Plundering 21 runs off Ishant's 10th over, Sammy, unbeaten on 56 off 35 balls, took the West Indies past the 200-mark.
Photo: Shikhar Dhawan (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)