India vs West Indies: Rohit Sharma’s stellar knock helps hosts take unassailable lead
India dished out a clinical performance to outclass the West Indies by 224 runs, their biggest margin of victory against the Caribbean side.Updated: Oct 30, 2018 08:17 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
During the 70s, the famous catchphrase in world cricket was—‘if Lillee doesn’t get you, Thommo will’, referring to the domination of two Australian great fast bowlers, Denis Lillee and Jeff Thomson.
Cut to the present and it would not be an exaggeration to say ‘if Kohli doesn’t get you, Rohit will’ while describing the dominance of these two Indian batsmen in the 50-over format in recent years. Since January 2013, skipper Virat Kohli and deputy Rohit Sharma have slammed 25 and 19 ODI centuries respectively and occupy the first two spots on the list of most number of ODI hundreds during this period.
On Monday, when West Indies got rid of Kohli cheaply for only 17, they would have heaved a huge sigh of relief. After all, with three hundreds on the trot, Kohli had proved to be the biggest thorn in their flesh.
However, local boy Rohit ensured the visitors’ joy was short-lived as he put on display another stellar exhibition of clean hitting on his way to a 137-ball 162, which powered India to a massive 377/5 in the fourth ODI at the Brabourne Stadium.
The mammoth total, in the end, proved enough for India to record a massive 224–run victory and take an unassailable 2-1 lead with the fifth and final match of the series to be played in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.
Rohit, who had scored an unbeaten 152 in the first ODI in Guwahati before falling tamely for 4 and 8 in the next two matches, looked on song from the first ball when he sliced Kemar Roach over point for four after Kohli had won the toss and opted to bat.
He continued to punish Roach and deposited him for a massive six over mid-wicket in the fifth over. After that, as his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan began to cut loose, he started playing cautiously.
Post the dismissals of Dhawan, who failed to capitalise on a good start for the third time in the series, and Kohli, Rohit turned on his aggressor mode again. While his first fifty came in 60 balls, for his second the Mumbai-batsman took only 38 balls. After reaching hundred, he went berserk in the way he has always done and clobbered 62 runs from only 39 balls before being caught by Chanderpaul Hemraj off Ashley Nurse in the 44th over.
During his swashbuckling knock that featured 20 fours and four maximums, Rohit broke a number of records. He became the first batsman to score an ODI hundred at the Brabourne Stadium which was hosting its first men’s international match since December 2009.
The 31-year-old also surpassed his idol and fellow Mumbaikar Sachin Tendulkar, who had earlier rung the bell to inaugurate the match, to become the fourth fastest to reach 21 ODI hundreds. Tendulkar had taken 200 innings to compile 21 tons while Rohit took only 186.
Ambati Rayudu (100, 81b) too who batted with nonchalant ease to bring up his third ODI hundred. With Rohit, he added 211 runs for the third wicket to put India on course for a big total. Towards the end, Dhoni (23 off 15) and Kedar Jadhav (16 off 7), who came in the playing XI replacing Rishabh Pant, also scored some quick runs.
The West Indian batting was quite impressive in the first three matches, but the pressure of chasing 378 took a toll on them as they lost wickets regularly and never looked like getting anywhere close to the Indian total.
Opener Hemraj hit a four and a six off Bhuvneshwar before spooning a catch to Rayudu off the same bowler. Two balls later, the West Indies suffered a body blow when their most prolific batsman on the tour, Shai Hope, was run out by Kuldeep Yadav while attempting a non-existent single.
In-form Shimron Hetmyer, who has been the find of the tour, played a couple of delightful shots before being trapped in front by young pacer Khaleel Ahmed. Ahmed then castled Rovman Powell with a beauty to leave West Indies reeling at 47 for 5 in the 12th over.
From there, it was only a formality as the visitors were rolled over for a paltry 153 in 36.2 overs. Captain Jason Holder waged the lone battle for the visitors scoring a defiant unbeaten 54. Khaleel and Kuldeep took three wickets apiece.
First Published: Oct 29, 2018 21:29 IST