Cricket pundits have a classic cliche that says that form is temporary, but class is permanent. Virat Kohli proved it right in the deciding one day against the West Indies. Indian skipper despite getting out on the first ball in the previous match at Vizag led the team from the front as India ended the year with a high note. Kohli kept the one end intact, stood like a rock of Gibraltar and helped the others to play their natural game.
Kohli shows patience
Kohli anchored the dicey chase with patience along with aggression and kept the run rate in control. But Shardul Thakur’s cameo in the last-ditch pulled off a thrilling four-wicket victory over the West Indies and helped India to clinch the ODI series 2-1 on Sunday.
Top three batsmen click
Chasing over 300 runs is just like a mountain to climb for a team. Set to score 316 off 50 overs, Indian openers provided a decent start and put on 122 runs for the opening partnership. India’s top three – Rohit Sharma (63), KL Rahul (77) and Kohli (85) set the platform in a 316 runs chase.
Captain steadies Indian ship
At one stage, the hosts were looking shaky, but Kohli steadied the Indian ship and applied all his experience sensibly and inched India on the verge of victory but left the scene just before the end of the drama. However, Jadeja and Thakur kept their nerve and did the rest of the work efficiently. This was a rare occasion when Kohli got out in the 80s or 90s in an ODI chase.
Shardul smashes 17-run off six balls
After Kohli’s dismissal, things were looking dicey for the hosts; the die-hard Indian fans were thinking that the match and series may slip from the hands of the men in blue. India needed a saviour at that time to fish out the team from trouble. A lesser-known element Shardul Thakur stepped out on the ground with different ideas and smashed 17 runs off six and romped home to 316 for six with ten balls to spare. Ravinder Jadeja (39 not out) was also enjoying his batting from the non-striker end.
17th successful 300+ chase
Credit must be given to Kohli and his troops for showing such guts and confidence after losing the opening match of the series at Chennai. Coming from behind in a series needs to punch above the weight for a team. The hosts superbly achieved this feat. This was India’s 10th consecutive series triumph over the West Indies. India is rightly considered as the best chaser in world cricket. This was the 17th occasion for team India to chase down 300+ runs in ODI. England has achieved this distinction 11 times.
Late firework by Pollard & Pooran
Earlier, India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and invited the visitors to bat first. The Carribean was not able to free their arms against the disciplined and steady India bowling till the 40th over. But late firework by skipper Kieron Pollard and Nicholas Pooran amassed 118 runs in the last ten overs, which helped the West Indies to reach 315 for five. The Windies skipper hit seven towering sixes and three fours on the way to his unbeaten knock of 74 off 51 balls. Pooran was not far behind smashed the ball all around the ground scored 89 runs from 64 balls.
Navdeep Saini included in the team in place of injured Chahar was the pick of the bowler. The 27-year old Delhi pacer bowled with heart and grabbed two wickets. Dangerous Shimron Hetmyer was his maiden victim in ODI; then he disturbed the timber of Roston Chase with a yorker. Saini finished his quota with 2 for 58, but failed to maintain his line and length and leaked some runs at the death overs.
Rohit declares player of the series
Rohit Sharma was rightly adjudged ‘Player of the Series’ for his superb batting in the series. Later the flamboyant India opener said it was a decider and we wanted to win this game, and especially here in Cuttack, it’s a good batting track. It was a little sad that I couldn’t bat longer, but then Rahul and Kohli batted well, and I quite enjoyed that Shardul pulls shot, it was much needed at that point. Extremely grateful for the year I had, the World Cup win would have been nice.
Kohli bags man of the match
Skipper Virat Kohli bagged the man of the match award, he later praised Shardul, and Jaddu then said Shardul and Jaddu finishing is excellent to see, these guys finishing the game is a much bigger thing. “I had a nervous look when I walked back, but when I watched Jaddu, he looked very confident,” he added. It’s been one of the best years in Indian cricket and apart from that 30-minutes at the World Cup, its been a beautiful year.
Pollard happy with teammates
Kieron Pollard, West Indies skipper, said, “After the match that I don’t think there is much to be disappointed actually. I’m very very proud of the guys and yes we faltered a bit with the ball and in the field, but India yet again pushed us hard and showed why they are the number one team in the world.”
India’s triumph over the West Indies has added another feather to team India’s cap. Kohli and his boys never lost heart despite the initial falter in the first match. The team applied themselves as a unit and knocked the visitors in the last two matches and sealed the series and ended the year 2019 superbly.