PERTH - India's World Cup confidence continued to climb as they thrashed the United Arab Emirates by nine wickets in their Pool B match at Perth's WACA Ground on Saturday. The UAE managed just 102 after winning the toss and electing to bat, the lowest ever total against India at a World Cup.

The defending champions then made it three wins from as many matches in the tournament when they cruised to their meagre victory target in just 18.5 overs. Although opener Shikhar Dhawan fell cheaply to a brilliant catch in gully, Rohit Sharma (57 not out) and Virat Kohli (33 not out) enjoyed some batting practice out in the middle as they guided India to the win.

India's impeccable form is a far cry from their indifferent efforts leading into the World Cup. The Indians were at long odds to defend the title they won in 2011 after failing to reach the final of the triangular one-day series against Australia and England just prior to this tournament. However, their title defence has been flawless so far, with emphatic wins over Pakistan and South Africa prior to beating the UAE

While they weren't expected to be troubled by the amateurs from the Middle East on Saturday, even on a pitch that has rarely been kind to Indian teams, the way they dismantled the UAE batting line-up was impressive. UAE skipper Mohammad Tauqir won the toss and batted, hoping his side could set India a competitive target. However, that rarely looked likely from the time they lost opener Andri Berenger in just the second over.

Berenger failed to cope with the typical WACA bounce and top-edged a short ball from Umesh Yadav through to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to fall for just four. Amjad Ali and Krishna Chandran, the other two batsmen in the UAE top three, both fell for the same score as their side slumped to 28 for three in the 11th over. Ali, like Berenger, fell victim to a short ball, caught behind by India captain Dhoni off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who replaced injured fellow seamer Mohammed Shami (knee).

Just when it seemed pace would be the undoing of the UAE, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin tore the heart out of their batting order. Spin rarely plays a significant role at the WACA, but man-of-the-match Ashwin claimed the wickets of Chandran, Khurram Khan (14) and Swapnil Patil (7) in quick succession as the UAE collapsed to 44 for five, a position from which they could not recover.

Ashwin finished with career-best figures of four for 25 from his 10 overs as the UAE added at least a hint of respectability to their batting performance with an innings-high last wicket stand of 31. Dhawan, coming off a blazing century against South Africa, made just 14 before he was brilliantly caught with one hand by Rohan Mustafa off Mohammad Naveed in a lone match highlight for the UAE.



Amjad Ali c Dhoni b Kumar    4

A Berenger c Dhoni b Yadav    4

K Chandran c Raina b Ashwin    4

Khurram Khan c Raina b Ashwin    14

S Patil c Dhawan b Ashwin    7

Shaiman Anwar b Yadav    35

R Mustafa lbw b Sharma    2

Amjad Javed c Raina b Jadeja    2

M Naveed b Ashwin    6

M Tauqir b Jadeja    1

M Guruge not out    10

EXTRAS: (lb4, w9)    13

TOTAL: (all out, 31.3 overs)    102

FOW: 1-7, 2-13, 3-28, 4-41, 5-44, 6-52, 7-61, 8-68, 9-71, 10-102

BOWLING: Kumar 5-0-19-1; Yadav 6.3-2-15-2; Ashwin 10-1-25-4; Sharma 5-1-16-1; Jadeja 5-0-23-2


R Sharma not out    57

S Dhawan c Mustafa b Naveed    14

V Kohli not out    33

EXTRAS:    0

TOTAL: (1 wkt, 18.5 overs)    104

FOW: 1-29

BOWLING: Naveed 5-0-35-1; Guruge 6-1-19-0; Javed 2-0-12-0; Chandran 3-0-17-0; Tauqir 2.5-0-21-0;


UMPIRES: Billy Bowden (NZL), Michael Gough (ENG)

TV UMPIRE: Nigel Llong (ENG)

MATCH REFEREE: Ranjan Madugalle (SRL)