India vs West Indies: Rohit, Rahul double act, Kuldeep hat-trick seal India’s big win
The Indian vice-captain hit his 28th ODI hundred -- 159 off 138 balls -- and added 227 for the opening stand with fellow centurion Rahul (102 off 104 balls) as India put up an imposing 387 for 5 in 50 overs.Updated: Dec 19, 2019 08:19 IST
Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul stuck centuries and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav took a hat-trick as India thrashed West Indies by 107 runs in the second ODI to square the three-match series here on Wednesday.
Seeking their first bilateral ODI series win in India since 2002, West Indies’ hopes were all but obliterated when a coordinated rampage by Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer helped India add 127 runs in the last 10 overs. West Indies suffered a setback in the chase when Shimron Hetmyer, who hit a match-winning 139 in the first game, ran himself out in the 14th over, misjudging Iyer’s throwing arm after he had dived to stop a boundary. Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran did a fabulous mending job, sharing a 106-run fourth-wicket partnership till Shami picked up two quick wickets. Then it was Yadav, who struck thrice in the 33rd over. He dismissed Hope, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph as India addressed their less-than-impressive record defending a score, at least for now.
Till that hat-trick, West Indies were very much in the game. The target however was stiff. Lessons learnt in the defeat in Chennai, India’s batsmen took no chance. Sharma and Rahul laid the foundation with a 227-run opening partnership before Iyer and Pant’s assault dismantled the West Indies bowling, helping India to finish on 387. It was yet another instance of how good India are at pacing a one-day innings. When they get going, it’s almost impossible to plug the flow of runs.
Still, this was a pitch where the ball wasn’t coming on to the bat easily. Some caution was in order when Sharma and Rahul took their guard. Proper cricket shots were used to clear the infield. And once the opening pair had got a feel of both the pitch and the bowling, they slipped into attack mode. India reached 50 in 58 balls, 100 in 121 balls and 150 in 153 balls. Once the 200 mark was breached in 203 deliveries, there was no stopping India.
Rahul got to his second century and Sharma scored his 27th, both following different routes. Rahul slowed down as he approached his, completing his 100 in 102 balls (102 – 104b, 8x4, 3x6) after having used the first 46 balls to reach his fifty. Sharma (159 – 138b, 17x4, 5x6) kept getting better, reaching his fifty in 67 balls but only 71 more to score the next 109.
Rahul was scintillating from early on in his innings, shots flowing from his bat on either side of the wicket. It was Rahul who got the move on by cracking two boundaries through cover and backward point off Sheldon Cottrell in the fifth over. In the 21st over, Joseph was guilty of bowling at his legs, prompting Rahul to whip it towards midwicket for a boundary. Joseph tried the same length the next ball, on the off-side, but Rahul crunched that behind point for four. The first ball of the next over from Keemo Paul met with the same fate, Rahul swatting a wide delivery for a boundary through point. India had found their next gear. West Indies were losing steam and India building further momentum.
When Sharma was dropped on 70—Hetmyer floored the catch running in from long-off—West Indies must have known the game was slipping out of their hands. Sharma scored the next 30 runs off 22 deliveries, but Rahul had fallen back a bit. However, he got to his century with a boundary and followed it up with an elaborate celebration befitting a person who has been in and out of the team often.
Virat Kohli sat in the dressing room in his batting gear for 37 overs but survived in the middle for just a single delivery. His counterpart Kieron Pollard too fell first ball. Two quick Indian wickets snapped the buzz inside the stadium but Pant and Iyer lifted the mood with their carnage. Pant’s blitz lasted just 16 balls, but he got 39 runs off them. Cottrell bore the brunt, leaking 24 runs in the 46th over as Pant smoked three boundaries and two sixes, solely relying on hand-eye coordination. The worst was reserved for off-spinner Roston Chase, who was hit for four sixes and two fours in a 31-run over that helped Iyer canter to his fourth consecutive fifty.
Such innings drive the asking rate through the roof but Hope and Pooran were doing a good job at keeping West Indies close. Yadav however scuttled their plans. Batting under lights is relatively easier but West Indies were not coping well with Yadav’s wrist spin. Hope finally walked into the trap of a wrong’un with a massive hit that was held superbly by Kohli on the midwicket boundary. Next ball, Holder was lured into driving against a googly, and his miss prompted Pant to whip off the bails. The dismissal that sent Yadav on a long victory run towards the far end of the ground was that of Joseph who tried to drive but got a leading edge that was held well by Kedar Jadhav at second slip. It was Yadav’s second ODI hat-trick, the first having come against Australia at Eden Gardens in 2017.