Another all-round show by Yuvraj Singh [ Images ] helped India [ Images ] thrash the West Indies [ Images ] by 80 runs in their final Group B match of the ICC [ Images ] World Cup, at the MA Chidambaram stadium, in Chennai, on Sunday.
Chasing 269 runs for victory, the West Indies could only amass 188 from 43 overs.
The victory, India's fourth in six matches, secured them second place in the group (with nine points) and assured them a last eight encounter against three-time defending champions Australia [ Images ] in Motera on March 24.
It was India's 39th ODI win against the West Indies -- against 54 defeats -- their fourth in seven matches in the sport's flagship event.
The West Indies' loss, on the other hand, meant they finished bottom of the group and will now play Group A winners Pakistan in the quarter-final.
More importantly, it continued the Caribbeans' recent poor record against top cricketing nations. The two-time World champions have not beaten a top team in 34 games dating back to June 2009, when they beat India at Sabina Park, Jamaica.
It was the West Indies' fourth defeat in five matches at the Chidambaram stadium and India's fourth win in eight.
Yuvraj took two for 18, a perfect follow up to his spectacular century earlier in the game.
Yuvraj, who has displayed excellent form throughout the tournament, registered his first World Cup century, which almost single-handedly put India in a comfortable position.
It was the left-hander's 13th ODI century, his third against the West Indies. His 123-ball 113 was inclusive of 10 hits to the fence and two over it, and took his aggregate in the tournament to 284 from six matches.
Ravi Rampaul was the most successful bowler for the West Indies, finishing with impressive figures of five for 51. It was the 26-year-old's first five-wicket haul in one-dayers.
The last occasion the West Indies beat a top cricketing nation India, at Sabina Park, Kingston [ Images ], in June 2009 -- Rampaul played a stellar role, taking four wickets. An encore, though, was not to be!
India got off to a worst possible start when Sachin Tendulkar [ Images ] (2) failed to negotiate a rising delivery from Rampaul and was caught behind.
The umpire was uncertain about the dismissal and didn't raise his finger. But the Master Blaster himself walked off the pitch.
His dismissal marked a disappointing start for the packed crowd at the Chidambaram stadium which had come to witness its favourite player register a 100th century.
Over the last few days, Tendulkar had been seen working out means to negotiate the Caribbean quicks, methods that got extensive coverage in the media.
However, in the final analysis, the West Indies executed their plans to perfection.
Gautam Gambhir [ Images ] (22) hit a few lusty blows before Rampaul had him caught by Andre Russell at third man, off yet another rising delivery.
With both the openers being sent back in under 10 overs, it was left to Virat Kohli [ Images ] and Yuvraj Singh to do the repair work.
And the duo did so with aplomb, putting on a vital 122-run partnership (off just 23.5 overs) for the third wicket, thereby laying the foundation for the innings.
In the process, Virat registered his 13th ODI fifty, his second against the West Indies. The knock also marked his second significant contribution in the tournament, following an unbeaten 100 in the opener against Bangladesh at Mirpur.
The re-introduction of Rampaul into the attack, just before the second drinks break, ensured the dismissal of Virat, the bowler rattling the latter's stumps to help himself to his third success of the day.
Yuvraj was then joined by captain MS Dhoni [ Images ] (22) and the duo put together 45 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter was stumped by Devon Thomas, giving young Devendra Bishoo his first wicket.
Suresh Raina [ Images ] (4) didn't survive long, Sammy having him caught by Rampaul at short fine-leg.
When Yuvraj gave a simple return catch to Kieron Pollard, it was all over.
The Indian tail failed to wag yet again.
Rampaul came back to clean up both Yusuf Pathan [ Images ] (11) and Zaheer Khan (5).
Team India had again failed to bat out their stipulated quota of overs, on this occasion getting dismissed with five balls to spare.
West Indies innings:
Chasing a competitive total, the West Indies got off to a steady start, with young Kirk Edwards (17) showing some early promise.
Dhoni opened the bowling with spin. R Ashwin, playing his first World Cup game and enjoying the vociferous support of his home crowd, started off miserly and ensured his side an early breakthrough, trapping Edwards leg before.
Devon Smith and Darren Bravo (22) put together 57 runs for the second wicket before the part-time spin of Suresh Raina accounted for the latter.
Raina, playing in his first World Cup match and given the ball in the 17th over, struck with his sixth delivery, having Bravo caught by Harbhajan at long-on.
Bravo, very much in the mould of the legendary Brian Lara [ Images ], looked confident in his 29-ball knock that included a boundary and a maximum. But the shot to which he got out would certainly not get Lara's approval.
Smith, nonetheless, continued his relentless pursuit, and joining him in his endeavour was the experienced Ramnaresh Sarwan [ Images ] (39).
The duo put together 63 runs for the second wicket and looked to be running away with the match at one stage.
Then disaster struck. And the West Indies innings witnessed something that it has got used to over the last decade or so -- a batting collapse.
Zaheer returned for his second spell, in the 31st over, and struck with his third delivery, a slower one that rattled Smith's stumps. Smith's 97-ball innings was inclusive of seven hits to the fence and one over it.
There was some amusement for the crowd soon after his dismissal with a canine entering the ground. It took some time before the ground staff could get the dog out.
And, by then, the canine had done enough to distract the possibly dangerous Kieron Pollard (1), who skied a Harbhajan delivery straight to Yusuf at long-on.
A couple of overs later, Yuvraj made himself a certainty for man-of-the-match honours, having Devon Thomas (2) stumped.
Darren Sammy (2) was run-out in the next over and Andre Russell (0) became Yuvraj's second victim soon after.
The West Indies were suddenly looking down the barrel. From a comfortable 154 for two, the Caribbeans had crashed to a miserable 165 for seven in the space of seven overs.
The result, thereafter, was never in doubt.
Photograph: Getty Images