After Virat Kohli (127), complemented by Ajinkya Rahane (68) and Suresh Raina (71). guided India to a formidable 330/6, India bowled West Indies out for 271 to post a 59-run win and claim the curtailed ODI series 2-1. (Also Read: Virat’s 20th ODI ton gets him more mentions in record books)
Capitalising on the start provided by the openers, the Kohli-Raina pair set up the game in the hosts’ favour with a 138-run stand in Dharamsala. Kohli’s watchfully compiled knock the was cynosure of all eyes as India piled on runs.
In reply, Marlon Samuels too posted a valiant hundred in an effort to salvage the West Indian innings even as he lost partners at regular intervals at the other end. After the new-ball bowling pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav kept the WI on a tight leash and built on the pressure, Samuels kept the team afloat with a 112-run knock, but with the lack of support from the other end his effort couldn’t keep the side from losing the fourth ODI.
Facing the huge target Dwayne Smith holed out to Mohammed Shami at mid-on to return for naught. At 1/1, Kieron Pollard then joined Darren Bravo at the crease and plodded to 6 off 31 before edging Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the slips.
Bowling tirelessly, Bhuvneshwar maintained a tight line and swung the ball to keep the batsmen in check. With his miserly first spell reading 8-2-19-1 along with Yadav’s 6-0-15-1, the new ball bowling pair had ensured that the target remained a tough ask.
Samuels then joined Darren Bravo in the middle and the pair forged a partnership of sorts. But after working his way to a hard earned 40, Darren Bravo dragged an Axar Patel delivery on to the stumps and returned to the pavilion. Samuels continued to hold up one end and kept the scoreboard ticking with Ramdin. He gleaned 22 runs off Jadeja as he strove to put up a fight. But Jadeja came back to claim Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo in his next over and pushed the visitors further back into the corner.
With WI on 121/5 Darren Sammy joined Samuels in the middle. Samuels continued his onslaught against Jadeja and struck the bowler for a couple of sixes and a boundary to collect 19 off the 32nd over. The bursts in run flow did little to alleviate the pressure as wickets fell at the other end.
Patel returned to catch Sammy off his own bowling in the first over of the powerplay. Although the run rate continued to creep up, Russell smashed four boundaries off Shami and picked 19 off Jadeja an over later, including two sixes on the leg side. Samuels then sent Patel sailing over the ropes straight down the ground.
Russell continued to swing his bat and had taken the attack to Yadav, with a four and a six. But the pacer came back to knock off the batsman’s bails for 46. With the required run rate creeping to 12 runs an over Holder made his way to the middle and Dhoni reintroduced Bhuvneshwar in the following over. 17 runs later he hit the pacer to Raina at extra cover. A while later Shami uprooted Taylor’s off-stump and in his next castled Samuels to end the West Indies innings.
Earlier, asked to bat, the Indian openers unleashed themselves in the sixth over to collect 15 runs from it to set the tone of the game. After a circumspect start, Shikhar Dhawan smashed Jason Holder over the ropes on the leg-side and pulled the next ball for four while Rahane sent the ball to the fence through point. There was no looking back thereafter as the left-handed opener smacked Jerome Taylor for four boundaries in the following over. A couple of quiet overs didn’t make a difference as the pair plucked runs with ease. Rahane claimed 12 runs off Andre Russell with three boundaries to take India to 65 without loss at the end of the first powerplay.
The opening stand however ended for 70 with Dhawan top-edging Russell to square-leg. Rahane, who was let off on 38 by Taylor, added 72 runs for the second wicket with Kohli before being trapped lbw by Sulieman Benn.
Raina, who then joined Kohli, smacked Samuels over long on for six off the third ball that he faced and continued to plunder runs at a quick pace. As the partnership grew, the left-hand batsman hit the bowler for another six straight down the ground. Kohli too joined in the fireworks and lofted Taylor over long-off an over later. Gleaning singles and twos, the pair also found the odd boundary at regular intervals as they put the hosts in a commanding position.
The WI captain was at the receiving end of the two Indian batsmen’s heroics as they clobbered him for 19 runs in one of the most expensive overs of the innings. Dwayne Bravo was struck for a boundary and a six by Raina while Kohli hit him for two boundaries.
An over later, however, while looking to nudge the ball past the wicketkeeper to third man, Raina was caught by Denesh Ramdin.
With a little over five overs left in the innings, the MS Dhoni took strike opposite Kohli who continued to plunder runs off the visitors. The top-order bat notched up his 20th ODI hundred with a single off an over-throw after hitting Taylor to midwicket.
Fumbling on the field the visitors dropped Dhoni at deep square-leg and conceded runs off over-throws. However, the Indian skipper was run out while scampering for a single off the next delivery. And after surviving a tough chance, Kohli lofted Taylor for six.
Meanwhile with India inching towards the 300-run mark Ravindra Jadeja was the next to be dismissed by Holder. Ambati Rayudu who then joined Kohli helped add 30 off 16 balls to take India to an imposing total.
India win by 59 runs
Man of the Match:
Dhoni: "A few more would have been good, we thought 350 would have been a good score. Akshar has been very consistent and doesn't get hit often, I was very happy with his bowling especially because of the dew. They bat deep but we came out on top. We have done quite well in all three departments but there is still room for improvements. We batted very well in the powerplay and also bowled well in the last 10 overs"
DJ Bravo: "Despite the situation off the field we have put cricket first. I want to congratulate Marlon and my team and coaching staff, we have really stuck together. Unlucky for us, but I cannot fault our effort"