Port-of-Spain: Skipper Virat Kohli’s incomparable batting form coupled with Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s four-wicket haul scripted a dominant 59-run win for India in the rain-curtailed second ODI against the West Indies, continuing their unbeaten streak in the Caribbean.
By virtue of the win on Sunday, India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series here. The first ODI between the two sides was washed out. The third and final ODI will be played here on Wednesday.
India rode on Kohli’s 120 off 125 balls and Shreyas Iyer’s 71 to post a challenging 279 for seven after opting to bat. West Indies were then set a revised target of 270 off 46 overs under D/L method after rain interrupted the proceedings for the second time.
In pursuit, the hosts were on course at 148 for four before they lost their last six wickets for 62 runs to be bundled out for 210 in 42 overs. Bhuvneshwar (4/31) was the pick of the bowlers for India, while Mohammed Shami (2/39) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/59) scalped two wickets apiece.
Earlier, coming on to bat in the fourth ball of the innings, Kohli played aggressively as India posted 279 for 7. He hit 14 fours and one six during his elegant knock. Besides Kohli, Iyer struck third half-century of his career off 68 balls and shared 125 runs with his skipper for the fourth wicket.
West Indies started their chase on a cautious note with Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis (65) stitching 45 runs in 9.3 overs for the opening stand. Playing his 300th ODI, Gayle achieved a big milestone when he surpassed legendary Brian Lara to become the highest scorer for West Indies in ODI cricket.
Needing seven runs to achieve the feat, Gayle reached the milestone with a single off Khaleel Ahmed in the ninth over. Gayle, who now has 10,353 runs as compared to Lara’s 10,348, departed soon after achieving the feat, out LBW to Bhuvneshwar in the 13th over. His stay at the crease was a struggle as he managed just 11 runs off 24 balls.
Shai Hope didn’t last long as he played on a Khaleel delivery. Shimron Hetmyer (18) showed glimpses of his talent before he was holed out to Kohli at short cover off Kuldeep. He shared 40 runs for the third wicket with Lewis.
Battling cramps, Lewis carried on and completed his half-century. Lewis and Nicholas Pooran (42) shared 56 runs before Kohli took a one-handed catch to sent back the opener off Yadav’s bowling. Thereafter, West Indies lost the plot as Bhuvneshwar dismissed Pooran, Roston Chase (18) and Kemar Roach (0). Shami polished off the tail, picking up the wickets of Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas.
Earlier, India lost Shikhar Dhawan early and while Kohli was fluent, Rohit was struggling to get going and his struggle finally came to an end when he sliced a Chase delivery to Pooran, who took a fine catch at point while running backwards. The duo shared 74 runs for the second wicket off 90 balls.
Rishabh Pant made 20 off 35 balls with the help of two boundaries before inexperience did him in as India were reduced to 101 for 3. Kohli and Iyer then played aggressively and milked the West Indian bowlers to keep the scoreboard ticking. Iyer played a good knock before some brilliant bowling from West Indies skipper Jason Holder got the better of him. Iyer was bowled around his legs as he went across the stumps for an extravagant shot.
West Indies came back strongly in the last 10 overs to peg back the Indians with some clever bowling display. Comfortably placed at 212 for 3, the Indians could only manage 67 runs for the loss of four wickets in the last 10 overs.