PORT-OF-SPAIN – Virat Kohli starred with a terrific hundred while the bowlers made full use of the helpful conditions bowling West Indies out for 171 to hand the visitors a huge 102-run win in a rain-affected game at the Queen’s Park Oval today
India wasted a fine start provided by openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma before Kohli took charge and boosted India’s total with his 14th One-Day International hundred while pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav shared eight wickets between them to help India notch up an important win with the bonus point.
Chasing a massive 312-run target, West Indies got off to a bad start when they lost two quick wickets to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the fourth ODI at Queen’s Park Oval. Bhuvneshwar picked up the wickets of the dangerous Chris Gayle (10) and Darren Bravo (1) in successive overs to rattle the West Indies’ run chase before rain played spoilsport and stopped the game for over an hour.
The target was reduced to 274 in 39 overs for West Indies, but India wasted no time in wiping out whatever hopes the hosts had with a triple blow soon after the break. Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Johnson Charles fell in the space of 10 balls (Ishant Sharma accounting for Samuels and Charles and Bhuvneshwar Kumar getting rid of Pollard) to leave the Windies reeling at 69 for 5 and India with a fantastic chance to secure the bonus point they needed to stay alive in the competition.
Yadav too got into the act soon after and had West Indies crawling on all fours with the wickets of Denesh Ramdin, skipper Dwayne Bravo and former skipper Darren Sammy. India had to restrict West Indies to less than 219 for the bonus point and they looked good enough to do that with the hosts struggling at 113 for 8 in the 25th over.
India’s push for victory was held up by a defiant 58-run stand between Sunil Narine and Kemar Roach. The pair capitalized on some poor Indian fielding to bring up the half-century stand and give Kohli’s men some nervous moments in the field. It was left to Ravindra Jadeja to wipe out the tail, as the left-armer had both the batsmen out in successive deliveries to give India a handsome win.
If the win gave India some much-needed respite, an on-field argument between Suresh Raina, who dropped a catch off Sunil Narine earlier, and Jadeja, who was the unlucky bowler then, would have given them as much, if not more, cause for concern. But with the likes of MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher in the dressing room, India would surely simmer down the issue.
Earlier, India had skipper Virat Kohli (102), who hit a fighting century as India overcame mid-innings wobbles, to thank as he helped the visitors post a challenging 311 for seven against West Indies. Dhawan (69) and Sharma (46) laid a strong foundation with their 123-run stand and Kohli ensured that their hard work did not go waste as he made up for the failure of the middle-order with his gritty knock.
After being sent in to bat, Dhawan and Sharma provided a solid start to India with 123-run stand, which was broken when the left-hander chose to play aggressively after spending a watchful 23 overs at the crease. The left-hander opened up after India had crossed 100-run mark. He chose local lad Sunil Narine for some punishment, hitting him for two sixes and a four. However, Dhawan could not continue in the same vain, as he holed out to Darren Bravo at deep square leg when he attempted to hit one off Roach over the ropes. His knock came off 77 balls and contained eight fours and two sixes.
Sharma too joined him in the pavilion when he edged one behind off Tino Best. In the space of seven overs India lost Suresh Raina (10), Dinesh Karthik (6) and Murali Vijay (27). Ravindra Jadeja’s run out made things worse for India but Kohli pulled India out of trouble and on track for a much-needed win.
Kohli faced 83 balls in his innings, his 14th One-day century, and punished the Caribbean bowlers with 13 fours and two sixes. After 40 overs, India had 210 runs on the board and only Kohli to bat with tail-enders as the pace duo of Roach and Best had polished off the Indian middle-order.
Kohli responded to the challenge in the best possible manner as India scored 101 runs in the last 10 overs and his contribution was 67 runs. Ravichandran Ashwin supported Kohli well with his 18-ball 25 as they shared a 90-run stand for the seventh wicket in 8.2 overs.