India vs West Indies: Amidst Virat Kohli’s heroics and Shai Hope’s grit, second ODI ends in a draw
Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s record-breaking day didn’t end on a favourable note after the contest against the West Indies ended in a thrilling tie at Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.
It was again a gritty show of batting from the visitors who, powered by a hundred from Shai Hope and an equally attractive 94 from Shimron Hetmyer almost won the second ODI to level the series 1-1.
A target of 321 definitely isn’t something that India would plan on posting once again as this has been a number which when got in the first innings, has resulted in a loss for the men in blue. It is the highest total that they have failed to defend.
Their first instance of failure to contain their opposition from overhauling 321 runs was way back in 2007 against Pakistan in Mohali and even last year against Sri Lanka. India lost both these contests.
But it was a day that was owned by Kohli. The 29-year old who had started the match needing 81 more runs to reach to the 10,000-run mark in ODI cricket did achieve that feat in style in his 205th innings–becoming the fastest to reach to that milestone and capped it off with his 37th ODI hundred–a stylish and unbeaten knock of 157 which took his side to 321/6 at the end of the first innings .
Rohit Sharma, coming on the back of a sparkling 152* in Guwahati failed to make an impression as he was dismissed in the fourth over itself with the experience of Kemar Roach coming in to play. Shikhar Dhawan (29) stayed a little longer but followed his partner’s path to the dressing room after he was trapped right in front of the wicket by off-spinner Ashley Nurse.
It was 139-run stand between Kohli and his newfound number four Ambati Rayudu that lifted the Indians. The duo scored at a pretty healthy rate and looked to set India up for a big finish. Rayudu nonetheless justified Kohli’s faith in him with a gritty 73 off 80 balls before becoming Nurse’s second victim.
The offie almost had Mahendra Singh Dhoni as well but the on-field umpire’s decision is what prevailed at the end. Yet, it was another below-par show from the former Indian captain who could manage just 20 runs of 25 balls with one six to his name.
When wickets were falling at the other end, Kohli’s innings started to gather fuel as the right-hander scored 45 runs off just 18 balls as part of a 59-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja that took India to 321 at the end of their alloted 50 overs.
While it was a match that was expected to be won by India, the West Indies batsmen, for the second consecutive time didn’t fail to pack a punch. A sedate opening start of 36 runs between Kieran Powell and Chris Hemraj set them up before a powerful 143-run stand that was characterized by brute strength between Shai Hope and Hetmyer dragged the West Indies to a point where they smelled a win. Yet after the stand ended, contributions continued to pour in and a last-ball four was all they could get in the last ball to end things in a tie.
Yet the last over bowled by Umesh Yadav was quite eventful. Needing 14 runs to win, Nurse managed a four down the third man area and then followed it up with a quick two to bring it down to seven runs off three balls. Rayudu pouched a safe catch at third man as Yadav had Nurse play the scoop as the visitors suffered a setback. Hope, who had already scored a hundred took two of the next ball to leave his side just five runs short of a monumental victory.
But a full delivery by Yadav was guided to the point boundary after Rayudu failed to stop the four as things ended in a thrilling tie.
Kuldeep Yadav was India best bowler with three scalps for 67 runs.
Brief score: India 321 for 6 (Kohli 157*, Rayudu 73) tied with West Indies 321 for 7 (Hope 123*, Hetmyer 94, Kuldeep 3-67).
Image credit- DNA India