MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Mohammed Shami only got a start at the World Cup because his India teammate Bhuvneshwar Kumar was injured.
After finishing off contrasting victories over Afghanistan and West Indies within a week, Shami may just have secured his spot.
He certainly finished off the West Indies, taking 4-16 at Old Trafford on Thursday to seal India’s 125-run win for India and end any hope the Caribbean team had of reaching the semifinals.
It was a dismal end for West Indies — dismissed for 143 in the 35th over chasing 263 to win — after a promising start to the tournament.
For India it was a fifth win from six games — one was washed out against New Zealand — and a rebound in form following a close call against Afghanistan last Saturday when it took Shami’s hat trick in the last over to seal a nervy victory.
Skipper Virat Kohli posted the highest score of the game, 72 from 82 balls, to collect a fourth consecutive half century and a man-of-the-match award.
“These haven’t been massive scoring games, but we’ve found ways of winning,” Kolhi said. “Fielders . . . putting bodies on the line, showing their desperation to win. The opposition feels like this team is here to win.
“A lot of self-belief in the team room right now — we feel like we can win from any situation.”
It was a fifth loss in six games for the West Indians since a commanding opening win over Pakistan, and it makes them the third team to drop out of playoffs contention along with Afghanistan and South Africa. They’ve still got games against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan to go.
The West Indies bowling attack did its job with recalled veteran Kemar Roach taking 3-36, skipper Jason Holder snaring 2-33 and Sheldon Cottrell taking two late wickets to return 2-50.
“We have let ourselves down significantly in this tournament,” Holder said in a post-match TV interview. “The bowlers had a reasonable campaign but our batting has been too inconsistent . . . we let ourselves down with the bat.”
India got valuable contributions from MS Dhoni, with an unbeaten 56 and a 70-run stand with Hardik Pandya (46), and KL Rahul (48) to back up Kohli.