PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Irrepressible India captain Virat Kohli stroked his second successive hundred and 43rd of his career to spearhead a remarkable run chase and send West Indies tumbling to a six-wicket defeat under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern in the final One-Day International in Trinidad today.
Set a daunting 255 for victory off just 35 overs after rain had caused an earlier three-hour break during West Indies’ innings, India effortlessly chased down the target with 15 balls to spare, to take the series 2-0 and condemn the hosts to their 13th defeat in 22 ODIs this year.
Further, West Indies have now won only four of their last 21 ODIs against India, and their latest defeat keeps them winless on the current tour after suffering a 3-0 whitewash in the preceding Twenty20 series.
Kohli lay at the centre of India’s brilliance, carving out a quite superb unbeaten 114 off 99 deliveries to follow up his 120 in last Sunday’s second ODI also at Queen’s Park Oval, and clinch the Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series awards.
Dropped on 11 in the sixth over by wicketkeeper Shai Hope off seamer Keemo Paul, Kohli made West Indies pay for the error, hitting 14 fours – the last of which was a clip to fine leg off seamer Carlos Brathwaite which took his side over the line.
Shreyas Iyer struck 65 off 41 balls while opener Shikhar Dhawan gathered a run-a-ball 36 as India expertly controlled a run chase which could have proved tricky.
Veteran opener Chris Gayle had earlier blasted 72 from 41 deliveries as West Indies raced to a competitive 240 for seven off their allotted 35 overs.
His opening partner Evin Lewis struck 43, Nicholas Pooran chipped in with a quick-fire 30 while Shimron Hetmyer (25) and Shai Hope (24) both got starts.
Gayle, in possibly his last ODI, handed West Indies a sensational start as he blasted eight fours and five sixes, dominating a 115-run opening stand off a mere 65 deliveries with fellow left-hander Lewis.
West Indies had ambled to 13 without loss after four overs after opting to bat first but Gayle then raised the tempo considerably, racing to his half-century off 30 balls with the first of two consecutive sixes off left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed (3-68) in the 10th over which leaked 17 runs.
Lewis also looked in good nick, punching five fours and three sixes as he too got stuck into India’s attack.
With West Indies on top, both openers fell in quick succession when Lewis miscued a slog at leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and was caught in the deep in the 11th over and Gayle belted Khaleel Ahmed straight to mid-off six balls later in the following over.
The rains arrived at the end of the 22nd over with West Indies on 158 and when play resumed three hours later, they had only 13 overs left in their innings.
Hetmyer and Hope, both of whom had struggled before the break, pushed their third wicket stand to 50 before also departing in successive overs with the score on 171 in the 26th over, but Pooran lashed a four and three sixes in a cameo 16-ball knock to fire West Indies past 200.
He put on 40 with captain Jason Holder (14) before picking out Manish Pandey at long on off seamer Mohammed Shami (2-50) in the 31st over.
Facing a required run rate of just under 7-½ runs per over, India suffered a major early blow when they lost Rohit Sharma in the third over for 10 with the score on 25, run out at the non-striker’s end after failing to regain his ground in a mix-up over a single.
However, Kohli’s arrival changed the complexion of the game as he added a crucial 66 for the second wicket to transfer pressure back on the Windies.
Dhawan had struck five fours when he was deceived by left-arm spinner Fabian Allen (2-40) and holed out to mid-off in the 13th over and Rishabh Pant (0) lasted two balls before falling in the same over, also failing to clear Paul at mid-off.
Tottering on 92 for three, India were in need of something special and got it through Kohli and Iyer who put on 120 for the fourth wicket to take the game away from West Indies.
Kohli was dominant from the start, reaching his half-century in the 18th over off 48 deliveries before marching to three figures off 93 balls in the 31st.
The 24-year-old Iyer, in his ninth ODI, lashed three fours and five sixes and by the time he chipped seamer Kemar Roach to Holder at long off in the 29th over, victory was all but assured.