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Rohit and Rayudu

Rohit, Rayudu power India to series lead

Ind v WI, 4th ODI, report

Rohit Sharma smashed a 150-plus score for the seventh time in his career as India beat the Windies by a mammoth 224 runs in the fourth ODI in Mumbai to record their third-biggest victory by runs.

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Virat Kohli did not have as much fun this time around, with the Windies’ bowlers denying him a record-equalling fourth consecutive ODI ton, but Rohit and Ambati Rayudu put on a sensational partnership to power the hosts 2-1 up in the five-match series with one clash remaining.

Rohit was probably frustrated that he couldn’t hit the 200-mark, given that on three of the previous six occasions he had passed 150 he went on to notch a double ton. Only the finest opener in ODI cricket could walk off the pitch with 162 runs to his name and view it as a missed opportunity.

Rayudu, India’s latest to be trialled at No.4, delivered an 81-ball century, ensuring the Windies’ middle-over bowlers never settled, helping to propel his side to a healthy 377/5 – their second-highest total against the Windies.

After India won the toss and opted to bat, Shikhar Dhawan hit a potent but ultimately fatal pull shot straight to Kieran Powell at midwicket off the bowling of Keemo Paul before Kohli feathered one off Kemar Roach, and while the loss of the colossal skipper is always a blow, it only served to stimulate Rohit and Rayudu.

The 33-year-old Rayudu played out five straight dots to Paul before a beautifully-timed drive wide of the deep-cover fielder got him on his way. The duo added 211 for the third wicket in just 27.1 overs, with the boundaries regularly being peppered. Rayudu manoeuvred both himself and the ball effectively, using his feet to create opportunities, while it was more stand and deliver for Rohit. 

The powerful opener didn’t get off to a flyer but it became vintage Rohit after he struck three fours off the 27th over from Rovman Powell, and thereon it didn’t really matter what the Windies threw at him. India clocked up 300 in the 43rd over, as Rohit went past 150.

Ashley Nurse finally enticed an edge from Rohit (162 from 137 balls), who reached for one outside off, 38 runs short of his fourth double-hundred in ODIs, but Rayudu (100 from 81 balls) went on to record his third ODI century – the first by an Indian outside the top three in nearly two years.

Fabian Allen then ran out India's No.4 brilliantly off his own bowling, but the accelerator continued to be pressed with 116 runs being belted off the last ten overs. Roach grabbed the wicket of MS Dhoni but seven deliveries faced by Kedar Jadhav yielded 16, while Paul (1/88) walked off with the worst ODI figures for a Windies bowler against India.

After the interval, India made an early breakthrough with the removal of Chandrapaul Hemraj, as Rayudu took a leaping catch at cover off the bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Things only got worse for the Windies, as 20/1 became 20/3 courtesy of two run-outs, with Kuldeep Yadav and Virat Kohli showing off their fielding skills with two direct hits to remove Kieran Powell and Shai Hope respectively. The tourists were in freefall.

Marlon Samuels and Shimron Hetmyer both made starts but failed to deliver the required recovery act. Khaleel Ahmed accounted for both their wickets, caught and lbw respectively, before bowling Rovman Powell. The left-arm quick knocked the wind out of the Windies' sails, who stood 56/6 four balls into the 14th over – he would finish with astonishing figures of 3/13 from five overs.

It then became damage limitation for the Windies, but credit must be given to skipper Jason Holder who kept fighting to record a half-century before running out of partners. 

Kuldeep removed Allen and Nurse, both caught by Rohit at first slip – the first was an exceptional grab – while MS Dhoni paraded his tidy glovework with the stumping of Paul off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja, giving doubters a reminder of his abilities ahead of the Men's Cricket World Cup next year. India secured the thrashing when Kuldeep (3/42) got the better of Roach to leave Holder stranded on a 70-ball 54. 

Windies will need to emerge victorious from the fifth ODI on Thursday if they are to level the series.

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