West Indies, led by fifties from Keiran Powell, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy, gunned down a stiff target of 289 to level the three-match series on Sunday. India were in with a shot until the end, despite dropping three catches and battling heavy dew. Sammy, with an unbeaten 63, had the final say.
India had a poor day on the field as skipper MS Dhoni put down a straightforward chance off Bravo, when on 43. Two balls later, Suresh Raina dropped Bravo again, at first slip. Simmons was on 43 when Yuvraj dropped him at long-on. But due credit must go to West Indies, who built on a 100-run third-wicket stand between Powell and Bravo and later an 82-run sixth-wicket stand between Simmons and Sammy.
Dhoni laid most of the blame on the heavy dew. “289 was like chasing 400 on this wicket. For me, it was a good effort by the bowlers to take the game to the last over. We never expected the dew to start so early. There was dew right from the first over, there was no swing for seamers and nothing for spinners.”
‘Clinical’ was the word to describe Virat Kohli’s 99. Though he missed a hat-trick of centuries at this venue, he again showed the characteristics of a senior batsman. He paced his innings and gave his captain and the lower-order the platform to build.
Put into bat, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma began cautiously before the latter was caught at slip off Ravi Rampaul. As Dhawan leaned forward and struck a hat-trick of classy cover drives, in the space of a few overs, it was clear only glorious shots were fetching fours. Dhawan was contentiously given out lbw off Veerasammy Permaul. Kohli waited 31 balls for his first four, a slog sweep off Sunil Narine. He waited for bad balls or a new bowler, while always rotating the strike.
He got a life when Bravo couldn’t hold on to a return catch. Kohli played risk-free cricket and yet scored at a run-a-ball. Four of his boundaries came behind the wicket, three towards mid-wicket and just one off-side boundary, a cut off Permaul.
Overall, he scored 75 runs on the on-side. When a run shy of hundred No 18, Kohli fell into Rampaul’s trap, pulling one to the fine leg fence where Holder held on to a low catch. In Kochi too, Kohli fell on 86 while trying a straight slog. Kohli’s disciplined efforts have ended with rash shots.
After a momentum dip that saw India score 15 runs and lose two wickets in the batting powerplay, Dhoni and Raina consolidated with a 62-run stand before the skipper ruined Rampaul’s figures in the penultimate over with a few monstrous hits. Scorecard