Yuvraj Singh stars in India victory

India 268 West Indies 188 (India win by 80 runs)
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The Independent Online

Yuvraj Singh hit a century and claimed two wickets to guide India to an 80-run victory over the West Indies in their last World Cup Group B match in Chennai today.

The victory put India second in their group and secured a quarter-final against Australia in Ahmedabad, while the Windies are left to face Group B toppers Pakistan in Mirpur.

Yuvraj showed his all-round capabilities in the match by scoring 113 off 123 balls and then returned to pick up Devon Thomas and Andre Russell to complete a memorable outing.

Chasing 269 for victory, the West Indies briefly raised hopes of making a match of the target - with Devon Smith providing the start with a compact 81 - but Zaheer Khan's late three-wicket burst bowled them out for 188 in 43 overs.

Earlier paceman Ravi Rampaul, coming in for the injured Kemar Roach, brought up his first five-wicket haul to halt the rampaging India batsmen and restricted them to 268 all out.

Batting first after winning the toss, India made a steady start despite Sachin Tendulkar (two) and Gautam Gambhir (22 off 34 balls) falling early to Rampaul.

Yuvraj and Virat Kohli kept the West Indies bowlers at bay with their positive batting and reached their half-centuries, and soon brought up their 100-run stand.

India reached 160 for two in 30 overs and appeared to be switching gear, but Rampaul cleaned up Kohli (59 off 76) to allow the Windies a foothold.

Yuvraj, along with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, attempted to maintain the momentum by adding 45 in 9.2 overs before Devendra Bishoo had the India captain stumped for 22.

By then Yuvraj had moved past his best World Cup score - 83 against Bermuda in 2007 - and six overs later reached his 13th one-day century off 112 balls.

Yuvraj then lost his partner Suresh Raina - caught by Rampaul off Darren Sammy - and a couple of overs later a sharp return catch from Kieron Pollard ended his terrific innings.

With Yusuf Pathan still at the crease India looked for a late blitz, but Rampaul yorked out the big hitter and along with Russell (two for 46) polished off the tail.

India were bowled out for 268 in 49.1 overs, with the last seven wickets falling for just 51.

In reply the West Indies made an assured start with opener Smith dropping anchor after the dismissal of Kirk Edwards (17) and Darren Bravo (22) by the 19th over.

Smith reached 50 off 64 balls and along with Ramnaresh Sarwan added 63 from 13.3 overs to keep them in the hunt, needing 115 needed off 120 for victory.

A bowling change did the trick for India as Zaheer and Harbhajan Singh dismissed Smith (81 off 97 balls) and Pollard respectively to leave the Windies on 157 for four.

The collapse continued when Thomas was stumped by Dhoni off Yuvraj and captain Sammy was run out a couple of overs later, leaving Sarwan with only the tail for support.

Yuvraj ended Russell's stay and the Caribbean team had lost five wickets for 11 runs in under seven overs.

With 101 needed off 12 overs with three wickets remaining, Sarwan and new man Sulieman Benn took the batting powerplay, but the left-hander became Zaheer's second wicket as the Windies slid to 179 for eight.

Sarwan's attempt to pull off an unlikely victory was halted by Zaheer before the right-hander had made 39 off 68.

The end came when local boy Ravi Ashwin cleaned up Rampaul to bowl the West Indies out for 188 with 42 balls remaining.