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Yuvraj's onslaught sinks Windies

YUVRAJ Singh slammed a brilliant 131 off 102 balls before India hung on for a 20-run victory over West Indies in a high-scoring first one-day cricket international at Sabina Park in Kingston on Friday.

Yuvraj's 12th one-day century, spiced with 10 fours and seven sixes, set up India's mammoth total of 339-6 off 50 overs.

The home team battled gamely before being bowled out for 319 with 11 deliveries remaining. Shivnarine Chanderpaul top scored with 63 off 59 balls.

Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, in his first international since September 2005, claimed 3-49, including the final wicket. Offspinner Yusuf Pathan took 3-56.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised Yuvraj after the tense finish.

"He has been brilliant in the last couple of years. He has evolved as a batsman," Dhoni said. "We have been relying a lot on him when it comes to the middle-order batting and he has proved himself. Every time we need him, he is there to score those runs."

Opener Dinesh Karthik hit a career-best 67 off 77 balls, Dhoni cracked a vital 41, and Pathan (40 not out) and Harbhajan Singh (21 not out) supplied late-over fireworks.

Left-handed Yuvraj entered with India, missing injured stars Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, in trouble at 32-2 in the eighth over after winning the toss.

Gautam Gambhir (13) and Rohit Sharma (4) both perished to pull strokes.

But Karthik and Yuvraj pulled their side around in a level-headed third-wicket stand of 135 off 129 balls.

Karthik reached his half-century first, off 54 balls.

Yuvraj paced his innings spectacularly, arriving at his 50 off 54 balls and then plundering 79 runs off his next 47 deliveries.

Karthik, who hit six fours and a six, eventually fell trying to scoop Dave Bernard at 167-3 in the 29th over.

Yuvraj and Dhoni maintained India's dominance in a fourth-wicket stand of 86 off 57 balls, including 62 off five overs of the batting powerplay.


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