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December 14 2018
Windies’ dismal show hands India the series on a platter
02 November 2018

India won the series 3-1 with one match ending in a tie.

The sky was overcast. The outfield was soft and wet. The wicket was a bit damp.

Jason Holder won the toss and — to borrow from a celebrated phrase from writer Martin Johnson — put West Indies in to bat in front of a sea of blue at the Greenfield Stadium. A grateful Indian attack obliged and India scripted a crushing nine-wicket victory in the fifth One-Day International on Thursday.

To be exact, you would have to call it a Half-Day International. For, it was all over even before the scheduled innings-break. 

All it took a wonderfully varied Indian attack to finish off the West Indies innings was just 31.5 overs. A target of 105 for a batting line-up headed by the Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma would have almost seemed like an insult.

Glimpses of artistry

India’s red-hot top-order reached the target in just 14.5 overs and thus won the five-match series 3-1. But, not before Virat and Rohit gave the capacity crowd of close to 40,000 glimpses of their artistry that has been winning admirers the world over.

Few duos in the history of the limited-over game have tangoed in tandem as stylishly as them. Like Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, like Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar, like Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge, they provide sheer delight at both ends of the wicket.

 

Rohit (63 n.o., 56b, 5x4, 4x6) and Virat (33 n.o., 29b, 6x4) were there together for only 13 overs and they had to survive some anxious moments created by the impressively quick rookie, Oshane Thomas, about whom we are likely to hear more in the future. But they ensured the passionate crowd got at least something in return for their money. 

The India captain was greeted with the loudest of cheers when he strode on to the ground in as early as the second over, after Thomas, only in his second game, had Shikhar Dhawan playing on. The Delhi left-hander, who could not reach 40 even once in the five innings this series, had fallen in a similar manner to the same bowler as at Guwahati in the first match.

 

Kohli, though, didn’t allow Thomas to cherish that wicket for long. He drove back a 149-kmph delivery gorgeously to the boundary. The young bowler nearly had his revenge though, as Holder, at first slip, failed to grab the catch offered by the man going through a Bradmanesque phase. He also had caught Rohit behind off a no-ball.

Grace and power

But, even a full moon will have some dark spots. The Mumbai stylist went about his usual way of scoring attractive runs. He combined grace and power in that unique fashion of his as he reached two more milestones. He became the second Indian batsman to complete 1000 ODI runs in this calendar year — after Kohli — and the fastest to hit 200 sixes (187 innings, eight less than Shahid Afridi).

 

Windies’ dismal show hands India the series on a platter
 

The wicket had eased out by the time he and Kohli were at the crease. It was obviously more difficult when the touring batsmen batted earlier on in the afternoon, but some of them made their own contributions to ensure that they ended up with an abysmally low total for the second time in as many matches.

Bhuvenshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah utilised the English-like conditions beautifully to dismantle the West Indies top order in no time. They swung the ball nicely and gave little away. 

With the fourth ball of the match, Bhuvneshwar had Keiran Powell edging an outswinger to Dhoni. In the very next over, Bumrah had the in-form Shai Hope attempt an extravagant shot through the covers, only to get an inside edge that disturbed the stumps.

Marlon Samuels flickered briefly, playing some lovely shots, before he became the first of the four wickets for Ravindra Jadeja. The left-arm spinner did no harm to his chances of making it to the World Cup squad, as he took good advantage of the conditions.

Scoreboard

West Indies: Kieran Powell c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 0 (4b), Rovman Powell c Dhawan b Khaleel 16 (39b, 1x4), Shai Hope b Bumrah 0 (5b), Marlon Samuels c Kohli b Jadeja 24 (38b, 3x4, 1x6), Shimron Hetmyer lbw b Jadeja 9 (11b, 1x4), Jason Holder c Jadhav b Khaleel 25 (33b, 2x4), Fabian Allen c Jadhav b Bumrah 4 (11b), Keemo Paul c Rayudu b Kuldeep 5 (18b), Devendra Bishoo (not out) 8 (15b, 1x4), Kemar Roach c Jadhav b Jadeja 5 (15b, 1x4), Oshane Thomas lbw b Jadeja 0 (2b); Extras (lb-1, w-7): 8; Total (in 31.5 overs): 104.

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Keiran Powell 0.4 overs), 2-2 (Hope, 1.4), 3-36 (Samuels 11.5), 4-53 (Hetmyer, 15.5), 5-57 (Rovman Powell, 16.6), 6-66 (Allen 20.6), 7-87 (Holder, 25.2), 8-94 (Paul, 28.1), 9-103 (Roach, 31.3). 

India bowling: Bhuvneshwar 4-1-11-1, Bumrah 6-1-11-2, Khaleel 7-1-29-2, Jadeja 9.5-1-34-4, Kuldeep 5-1-18-1.

India: Rohit Sharma (not out) 63 (56b, 5x4, 4x6), Shikhar Dhawan b Thomas 6 (5b, 1x4), Virat Kohli (not out) 33 (29b, 6x4); Extras (lb-1, nb-1, w-1): 3; Total (for one wkt. in 14.5 overs): 105.

Fall of wicket: 1-6 (Dhawan, 1.5 overs).

West Indies bowling: Roach 5-2-13-0, Thomas 4-0-33-1, Paul 2-0-22-0, Holder 1-0-15-0, Bishoo 1.5-0-16-0; Allen 1-0-5-0.

Toss: West Indies.

Man-of-the-Match: Jadeja.

Man-of-the-Series: Kohli.

India won by nine wickets with 35.1 overs to spare and the five-match series 3-1.

 

 

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