India failed to score West Indies’ 284 and bundled in 240 runs.

 

Cricket fraternity and fans are running out of adjectives these days for Virat Kohli who seems to have built his own realm where he has no competition, and he is well on his way to reach where no man has ever reached before. Mind you, it’s not even written in the stars, but he is writing his own script.

On Saturday, he strolled to yet another century, his 39th, when every other batsmen faltered, but failed to take India to the shores as the hosts lost to West Indies by 43 runs in the third ODI at the MCA here. In the process, he became the first Indian batsman to complete three consecutive ODI hundreds.

To say that the match was a huge turnaround won’t be an exaggeration as the scoreline of the tournament now reads 1-1. A comeback by the Caribbeans has given life to the series. They displayed a clinical bowling performance with Marlon Samuels taking the crucial wicket of Kohli (107 off 119 balls) apart from other two wickets of Khaleel Ahmed (3) and Jasprit Bumrah (0) to bundle the hosts out for 240 in 47.4 overs. India’s hopes diminished after the captain, trying to pull off Samuels missed it, and got clean bowled. India just needed 69 runs to win the match.

West Indies started off well, dismissing dangerous Rohit Sharma early on his innings. The swashbuckling opener got the cracker of a delivery by captain Holder where the ball held its line and kissed the off stump. He scored 8 runs. Shikhar Dhawan (35 off 45 balls) and Kohli looked solid in the middle and tried to stitch a long partnership before the former was adjudged leg-before to Ashley Nurse.

Middle order conundrum surfaced again after the openers got out cheaply. Expectations were high from Ambati Rayadu (22 off 27 deliveries), whose 73 in the last match had consolidated his claim for No 4 spot. A good innings in this match would have further cemented his position but he lost his wicket to McCoy. He shared a 46-run partnership with Kohli and India’s scoreline read 134 runs in 25 overs.

It’s saddening to see Dhoni looking out of sorts and not being able to even middle the ball. If he got out on a good ball in the last match, this was the occasion where he could have proven his worth not only to the world, but himself that he has still got it in him. A ball outside the off stump by Jason Holder took an outside edge of Dhoni’s bat and got safely deposited in Hope’s gloves.

Although, earlier in the innings, Dhoni finished his stint on a high note with some extraordinary work behind the sticks. A full stretched dive by him was a testament why he is still counted as one of the fittest in the young Indian team. He caught a top-edged shot off Chandrapaul Hemraj while running towards the fine leg boundary in the sixth over.

Promising wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant (24 off 18 balls) too couldn’t make the most of the opportunity and failed again when the team required him to build an innings and stay at the crease. He failed to make full use of his life given by Fabian Allen who dropped his catch at point. Pant looked good and was initially striking the ball cleanly but eventually gave away his wicket to Nurse.

The tail-enders couldn’t sustain for long with Bhuvneshwar (10), Chahal (3), Bumrah (0) and Ahmed (3) getting out cheaply.

In the bowling department, India did well compared to their last performances. Undoubtedly, India’s best seamer, Bumrah, scalped 4 wickets and only conceded 35 runs in 10 overs. Returning to the team after being rested for the first two matches, he sent both the visiting openers – Kieran Powell (21) and Chanderpaul Hemraj (15) – in his first spell to give India a solid start and later dismissed Hope and Ashley Nurse (40).

Bhuvneshwar, Chahal and Ahmed shared one wicket each while Kuldeep gave away 52 runs in his quota of 10 overs. Riding on Shai Hope’s innings of 95 and a valuable 22-ball 40 from Nurse, West Indies did manage to reach a respectable 283/9 runs at the end of 50 overs.

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