Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni clubbed an unbeaten 78 to lead his side to a comfortable 93-run win over the West Indies in the third ODI in Antigua.
Opting to bowl first, the West Indies came out firing on all cylinders as Miguel Cummins got rid of Shikhar Dhawan for two runs before captain Jason Holder dismissed India skipper Virat Kohli for 11.
India recovered from the double blow through Ajinkya Rahane and Yuvraj Singh’s 64-run partnership before Yuvraj was trapped lbw off the bowling of Devendra Bishoo for 39.
Rahane and Dhoni kept the runs flowing with a 70-run partnership, during which Rahane surpassed his fifty, before he was removed by Cummins for 72 off 112 balls, which included four boundaries and a six.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav helped India finish on 251/4 as they put together an unbeaten 81-run stand, during which Dhoni breezed past his half-century.
Dhoni ended up making 78 off 79 balls, which included four boundaries and two sixes, while Jadhav remained undefeated on 40 off 26 deliveries, which included four boundaries and a six.
Cummins was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Holder and Bishoo snapped up one.
Chasing 252 to win, West Indies opener Evin Lewis fell on the eighth ball of the innings as he was clean bowled by Umesh Yadav for two runs.
Just as the hosts were beginning to recover, debutant Kyle Hope was sent packing by Hardik Pandya for 19.
The West Indies began to crumble after Hope’s dismissal as they went from 54/2 to being reduced to 87/5 in the 20th over.
Rovman Powell and Jason Mohammed temporarily stemmed the bleeding with a 54-run partnership before Powell was dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav for 30.
Ashley Nurse fell shortly after, while Mohammed went on to make 40 before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Kuldeep.
Once Mohammed was gone, it was all over for the West Indies as just under two overs later, they were bowled out for 158.
Kuldeep and Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets apiece, while Pandya snapped up two, and Umesh and Jadhav claimed one wicket each.
Holder was disappointed to have lost, and said: “Bowlers did a hell of a job. We put in a real good effort in the first 10 overs. If there is any criticism, we gave away too many runs in the back end. We’ve got to come hard, we’ve got to address our batting. In the end we’ve got to bat well.”
Kohli was glad to have gone 2-0 up in the series, and said: “I think it was a clinical performance again. Early on there was quite a bit of moisture, it was a good toss to win, and they bowled really well. It was a good batting effort to get us to 250. The wicket played much better in the second innings.
“The bowlers created pressure and got breakthroughs at the right moments. It’s about putting your hand up at the right time, its about how many people can stand up and put in those performances. We’ll surely look into [making changes]. We have quite a few players who haven’t had a game in a while.”
Dhoni was named Man of the Match, and said: “It’s like wine [when asked about getting better with age]. Top order has been doing the bulk of the scoring in the last one-one and a half years, so it felt good to get an opportunity and score runs. I think it was the nature of the wicket. Variable bounce, and at times the pace. It was important to have a partnership at that stage.
“In my mind I had 250, and we got there, with Kedar batting with me at the end. It was something the bowlers could defend, but they had to bowl well. It’s important [to instruct and mentor spinners]. Kuldeep has played a lot of games, IPL, T20 format. When it comes to international cricket, it’s important to know where to use your variety. Once he plays 5-10 games, he will realise it himself. The good thing is, compared to the last game, he bowled very well today.”