Kohli's 20th ODI century, a sublime 127 that was studded with 13 fours and three sixes, formed the bedrock of the innings as India finished at an imposing 330 for 6. West Indies couldn’t quite get any momentum early in their innings and despite the excellence of Samuels and an entertaining cameo from Andre Russell, the visitors eventually ended with 271, coming up short by 59 runs.
Marlon Samuels was in inspired form for the West Indies, but even his 106-ball 112, his seventh ODI ton and second of the series, was quickly reduced to a sideshow by the Indian bowlers who held their own under heavy dew, Axar Patel's 2 for 26 off ten overs invaluable as his left-arm spin gave MS Dhoni control throughout.
Mohammed Shami hit the straps early on by consistently bowling over 140 km/h, but it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who did the early running during a marathon spell of 8-2-19-1, in which he got the ball to jag around both ways. In between, he also had Kieron Pollard ducking for cover with a rip-roaring bouncer that pinged the batsman on the helmet.
After losing Dwayne Smith to a miscued pull, India put the brakes on. Pollard hardly looked the marauder that he is. He had crawled to 6 off 30 balls before nicking a Bhuvneshwar inswinger to Shikhar Dhawan at slip. When Axar bowled Darren Bravo soon after, West Indies was placed at 83 for 3 in the 21st over.
Samuels was then peppered on a number of occasions by Shami and the frustration of being unable to get away resulted in him launching an onslaught against Ravindra Jadeja, who was hit for four sixes. But Jadeja got numbers into his wickets column by dismissing Denesh Ramdin (9) and Dwayne Bravo for a second-ball duck to put the West Indies innings on a freefall, till Andre Russell lit up the night sky with a typically aggressive 23-ball 46. After his dismissal though, Samuels's ton was only of academic interest.
That West Indies had a steep task right from the outset was due to the brilliance of the Kohli-Suresh Raina partnership.
The pair came together in the 27th over when Ajinkya Rahane (68 off 79 balls) was dismissed after a strong start, and added 138 for the third wicket.
Kohli drove, cut and pulled well, but the shot of the evening was a clean lofted hit off Jerome Taylor, the punch carrying the ball way back into the stands. To West Indies' dismay, Raina wasn't in the mood to play second fiddle as he simply continued from where he had left off in New Delhi. Dwayne Bravo, his Chennai Super Kings teammate, soon came under his wheel and was clobbered for 51 in six overs as the batting PowerPlay produced 52 runs.
While Raina fell for a 58-ball 71, Kohli continued merrily, flaying the West Indies attack to all corners of the ground. India also benefitted from as many as six dropped catches that added salt to the West Indies’ wounds.
That Kohli and Raina got into their zone quickly was due to the foundation laid by the openers who put on 70 in 11.3 overs. While Dhawan was in a punishing mood, Rahane lent an artistic touch. But that was to soon be overshadowed by Kohli's masterclass that deservedly earned him the Man of the Match award.
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