Virat Kohli notched his 43rd ODI century to ensure his side claimed the ODI spoils on their tour of the West Indies.
Having entered in the third over with his side needing well over a run a ball – Rohit Sharma run out by Fabian Allen after a mix-up – Kohli was at his imperious best, finishing unbeaten on 114 off 99 balls.
He had one slice of luck, dropped by the keeper Shai Hope on 12, but after that barely played and missed or edged one. His side didn’t have it all their own way however, with Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant dismissed by Allen in the space of three balls, both holing out to Keemo Paul at mid-off.
In the circumstances, Shreyas Iyer’s rapid half-century was vital in wresting back momentum, though when he struck straight to Windies captain Jason Holder at long-off for a 41-ball 65, the door was still slightly open.
But Kohli, with the support of Kedar Jadhav, ensured there was to be no turnaround. During the course of his knock he passed 20,000 runs since the start of 2010, making him the first to do so in a single decade.
Such a comfortable win seemed out of the question when Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis gave the hosts a blistering start. After playing out a maiden to begin, the pair boosted West Indies to 114/0 off the first 10 overs. 101 runs came off the last six overs of the Powerplay alone, with the pair setting a new high for runs in the first sixty balls for a team batting first in an ODI.
Two wickets in two overs from Khaleel Ahmed and Yuzvendra Chahal set West Indies back, and on a turning pitch, India fought back. After 22 overs, the rain fell reducing the game to 35 overs a side, and after the break, only Nicholas Pooran, who smashed 30 off 16, could find his feet.
While Khaleel’s three wickets gave him the best figures, it was India’s spinners who played the key role, with Chahal, Jadhav, and Ravindra Jadeja maintaining a combined economy rate of 4.56 runs per over. Still, thanks to West Indies’ fast start, they set a testing target of 255 runs to win from 35 overs, but, as he often is, Kohli was just too good.
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