Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed four wickets to lead a strong Indian bowling performance as the defending champions eased to a nine-wicket victory over the United Arab Emirates in a World Cup Pool B encounter in Perth on Saturday.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and fast bowler Umesh Yadav chipped in with two wickets apiece as the Emiratis were bundled out for just 102 in 31.3 overs at the WACA to post the lowest score of this year’s tournament.Opener Rohit Sharma had missed out in India’s wins against Pakistan and South Africa but used the opportunity to get some runs under his belt as his team chased down the target with 31.1 overs to spare for a third triumph in as many matches.
Rohit (57) and Virat Kohli (33) added 75 in an unbroken second wicket stand to carry India home after in-form opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan (14) fell to a sharp one-handed catch by Rohan Mustafa at point off Mohammad Naveed.Rohit, the owner of the highest ODI score of 264, brought up his 24th fifty with a square-cut boundary off UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir. He hit 10 fours and a six during his 55-ball knock.
Tauqir would never have envisioned such a shambolic batting display from his team mates when he won the toss and opted to bat first.However, the extra bounce on a pitch widely considered as the fastest in the world put them on the back foot from the onset of their innings.Yadav bowled short and fast and struck in his first over, the second of the innings, to remove opener Andri Berenger (four) with a bouncer.Fellow opener Amjad Ali (four) did not last much longer, edging a bouncer from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, a replacement for the injured Mohammed Shami, to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps.
Skipper Dhoni brought Ashwin (4-25) on as his first change immediately after the mandatory 10-over powerplay to start the innings and the tall spinner picked up a wicket with his second ball and then ran through the UAE middle order to bag his best figures in ODIs.Shaiman Anwar, who scored an aggressive century during their two-wicket loss to Ireland, was the only batsman to provide some resistance and finished with 35 from 49 balls, his innings including six boundaries.Anwar and number 11 batsman Manjula Guruge (10 not out) added 31 for the final wicket, the highest of the innings, to get UAE past the 100-run mark.