Darren Sammy came up with an unbeaten 63 under pressure to guide the West Indies to a thrilling two-wicket victory over India in the second ODI and level the three-match series 1-1, in Visakhapatnam, on Sunday.
After India put up a challenging 288 for 7, with Virat Kohli scoring 99 and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni an unbeaten 51, after being asked to bat, Kieran Powell (59) and Darren Bravo (50) led the West Indies chase splendidly with a 100-run partnership as they recovered from 23 for 2, before Sammy steered the team home with an unbeaten 63 from 45 balls, studded with four fours and an equal number of sixes.
On a slow track at the ACA-VDCA Cricket stadium, the West Indies lost wickets in a heap towards the end, but sneaked home with three balls to spare as the Indian bowlers struggled to grip the ball because of heavy dew.
Sammy joined Lendl Simmon (62) when the West Indies had lost five wickets for 187 runs and together they produced a match-winning 82-run partnership which helped them register their first victory win since coming to India.
They lost the Test series 0-2 but now have a chance to take the ODI series. The teams travel to Kanpur for the series-deciding third match on Wednesday.
For India, Kohli did a tremendous job before falling victim to a rash pull and missing out on a century.
He had to step in early after the fall of Rohit Sharma in the fifth over and he batted sensibly, not going for the cross batted shots, even as the other Indians fell trying to speed up the run-rate.
Kohli's knock came off 100 balls with nine boundaries.
Sammy, who came in after the fall of Dwayne Bravo, took his time to settle down in the middle before opening up and taking the visitors past the target with three balls to spare.
Chasing a stiff target of 289 for victory, the West Indies were off to a poor start, losing Johnson Charles, who was caught and bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third over.
Mohit Sharma then had Marlon Samuels walking back after he edged one to MS Dhoni behind the stumps.
But then the West Indies then started the rebuilding, with Darren Bravo and Kieron Powell taking the attack to the opposition.
The dew, coupled with sloppy fielding, didn’t really allow any Indian bowlers to make much of an impact. Bravo soon reached his half-century with a single off Mohammad Shami off 53 balls to keep the visitors in the hunt.
Dhoni’s decision to persist with R Ashwin paid off, as he had Bravo caught behind for 50.
Kieran Powell perished soon after reaching his half-century, stumped by MS Dhoni off Ashwin.
The Indians were horrible in the field as they dropped Bravo thrice before dismissing him. The Bravo-Powell added 100-runs for the third wicket.
Lendl Simmons forged a good partnership with skipper Dwayne Bravo, before the latter succumbed to a loose shot to Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bhuvneshwar should have had Simmons too walking back had Yuvraj not dropped him at long-off.
Simmons finally perished, adjudged leg before to Ravindra Jadeja for a well-made 62.
Sammy took over from there on as he mixed caution with aggression to ensure that he was there till the end to guide visitors home.
Electing to bowl, unsure of how the wicket would behave after two days of incessant rain, the West Indies kept India under pressure for most of the time, but the hosts scored 62 runs off the last five overs to put up a challenging total.
Kohli soothed the nerves, but fell victim to a rash pull as India were in danger after losing two wickets for 15 runs in the batting power-play.
But once again Dhoni came to the rescue with an unbeaten 51, his 50th ODI half-century, to give India a decent total to defend.
Dhoni slammed three sixes and four boundaries in his 40-ball knock in an entertaining 47-run seventh wicket partnership with R Ashwin.
Kohli had to step in early after fall of Rohit Sharma in the fifth over and he batted sensibly, not going for the cross-batted shots, even as the other Indians fell trying to speed up the run-rate.
The incessant rain due to 'Cyclone Helen' had forced the ground to remain under covers for two days and the wicket demanded the batsmen to show patience and play their shots in the V with straight bats.
Kohli showed how to do it with ease and finesse. He took the path of the singles and doubles with the occasional boundaries. He ran 53 singles and five twos, and had only nine fours to inch one run shy of a third hundred at the venue.
It was then perhaps that the elegant Indian batsman lost his patience briefly as pacee Ravi Rampaul denied him a well-deserved century.
Rampaul sent down a bouncer, Kohli swirled his bat and Jason Holder took a low diving catch at deep fine leg.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma had a rare off day at his mother's home town as he was taken at second slip. It ended a dream run, during which he scored a double ton, two hundreds and an equal number of half-centuries in his last five outings.
After Sharma's dismissal India crawled to 48-1 in the first powerplay. The West Indies clearly had the upper hand, dismissing the other opener, Shikhar Dhawan, with the addition of another 48 runs.
Included in place of Narsingh Deonarine, Veersammy Permaul made the Indians sweat under the scorching sun, reducing them to 69-2 after Dhawan miscued one against the turn and was caught at slip.
Having remained under cover with the ground under water, the outfield and the wicket was very much unlikely of the belter that the ACA-VCA Stadium used to offer.
The mighty Indian batting line-up had to fight for every run in the first 25 overs, in a phase where Permaul and Sunil Narine had put them the visitors an edge.
Kohli had a stroke of luck when on 64 when skipper Bravo dropped him off his own follow through.
Suresh Raina got an easy reprieve on 13 after being dropped by Lendl Simmons in an easy catch as the Windies fielding looked ordinary.
Image: Darren Sammy