St Lucia: Indian skipper Mahedra Singh Dhoni's played a brilliant knock to lead his side to a six-wicket victory in the third one-day international in St Lucia.
The victory gave India an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series with the teams returning to the Beausejour Stadium on Sunday for the fourth and final match.
The match was almost reduced to a T20 game as it witnessed as many as four stoppages due to rain during the West Indies innings, including a two hour and five minutes delay at the start of the match. The interruptions forced the overs to be brought down to 27 per side.
Windies, put into bat after Dhoni won the toss, rode on Ramnaresh Sarwan's 62 to post a competitive 185 for seven and India were set a revised target of 195 following the D/L method.
India's were of to a flying start as Dinesh Karthik (47 off 43 balls) and Gautam Gambhir (44 off 38) scored 84 runs for the opening partnership.
A splendid throw from Ravi Rampaul ended Karthik's innings.
Gambhir and Dhoni took the score to 95 for one off 13.3 overs when rain intervened for the fifth time and following a 22-minute delay, the target was revised to 159 in 22 overs.
Needing another 64 runs from 51 deliveries, India lost Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh (2) in quick succession.
With 11 runs required off the last seven deliveries, Rohit Sharma too departed leaving Dhoni to see the team through. The skipper's 34-ball unbeaten knock included a couple of boundaries besides the six in the last over.
While Dhoni sparkled, opening partnership too did the job.
Karthik and Gambhir not only complemented each other but also gave the visitors perfect launchpad to go for victory after Sarwan's 58-ball 62 guided the West Indies to 185 for seven.
Sarwan was involved in two crucial partnerships, 51 runs with Runako Morton (22) and another 48 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul (15) before he was run out going for a non-existent second.
Gambhir's strong throw found Sarwan short of the mark. His innings included five fours and a six.
He carried on the momentum provided by captain Chris Gayle (27), who gave the hosts a rollicking start after the match started two hours and five minutes late following a rain delay that first reduced the match to 41 overs a side.
Gayle hit Ishant Sharma for a couple of boundaries in each of his first two overs. Ashish Nehra (3/21) received similar treatment in his second over, another couple of boundaries, before rain intervened with the West Indies at 27 for no loss from 3.3 overs.
Play resumed after a 15-minute delay but the distraction was enough to unsettle the West Indies captain, who departed chasing a widish delivery from Nehra.
Gayle slashed the first ball after resumption and Dhoni did the rest behind stumps. His 14-ball stay at the crease had six hits to the fence.
Morton (22 off 34 balls), who was a silent spectator till then was joined by Sarwan and the duo took the score to 56 for one from 9.1 overs before rain intervened for a third time.
Following another 15-minute delay, the overs were reduced to 36 per side.
However, rain forced play to be suspended again just two deliveries on re-start with the hosts on 57 for one.
This time play remained suspended for an hour and 20 minutes before it resumed with the overs reduced to 27 a side.
Morton greeted RP Singh with a four but fell soon after. Sarwan though didn't let the stoppages affect his rhythm as he took 16 runs off one Yuvraj over to help the hosts go past the 100-run mark in 16 overs.
Along with the vastly experienced Chanderpaul, the duo put on 48 runs before the left-hander departed trying to hoist Yusuf Pathan over mid-on and Nehra doing the rest.