Kohli, Iyer guide India to ODI series win
India finished the West Indies ODI series with a 2-0 victory, winning the third match by six wickets. After the hosts put up 240 runs on the board in a rain-interrupted match at the Port of Spain, the Men in Blue chased down a revised target of 256 with ease. With this win, Virat Kohli and Co. kept Windies from winning any match in the limited overs format on the tour.
Winning the toss, Jason Holder chose to bat first. Veteran Chris Gayle alongside Evin Lewis gave their side an explosive start. The duo not only managed to protect their wickets but also put up a 100-run stand. Gayle, who featured in his 301st ODI flaunting the number on his special jersey on the occasion, was at
his hard-hitting best, scoring an entertaining 30-ball half-century. Lewis, at the other end, provided Gayle ample support as the pair went berserk, getting their team past the three-figure mark in 9.1 overs.
Yuzvendra Chahal, bowling his very first over, brought India the much-needed breakthrough, as Lewis got caught at long-on. He departed scoring a commendable 43 off 29 balls.
India bagged the crucial wicket of Gayle in the very next over, sending him back finally. After putting up a 41-ball 72 studded with 8 fours and five sixes, Gayle was applauded by the crowd as he walked out of the ground with the helmet hanging on his raised bat.
After the loss of wickets, the Windies’ run-rate dropped drastically. Rain stopped play after the 22nd over, and after a halt for three hours, the game was reduced to 35 overs each side.
The Windies middle order failed to build another big partnership, as the batsmen were restricted from scoring by the Indian bowlers. Their innings came to an end with 240 runs on the board at the end of 35 overs.
Khaleel Ahmed, though was hammered brutally by the Windies openers, finished as India’s most successful bowler with three wickets, while Mohammed Shami picked up a couple.
India’s batting was almost a déjà vu of the second ODI. While Rohit Sharma gave away his wicket in a run-out, Shikhar Dhawan added a run-a-ball 36 before getting out to Fabian Allen.
The onus was once again on Kohli to take the side to victory and the captain stood up to the occasion. After quickly losing both his partners Dhawan and Rishabh Pant, Kohli partnered with Shreyas Iyer to stitch the most crucial partnership of India’s innings.
While the Windies were looking forward to their chances of winning with India at 92 for 3 in 12.4 overs, the Kohli-Iyer pair added 120 to the board, taking the match away from the hosts.
Iyer played quite an aggressive knock, as he hit five sixes and three fours enroute to his 41-ball 65. While he departed after a mishit off Kemar Roach’s delivery, Kohli stuck around to score his 43rd ODI hundred.
The Indian skipper remained unbeaten at 114 off 99, with Kedar Jadhav at the other end to take India to victory with 15 balls remaining.
He was named Man of the Match, and for his twin tons was adjudged the Man of the Series as well.
The Test series between the two teams will start from 22nd August in Antigua.