Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India captain Virat Kohli led by example as he clubbed an unbeaten 111 to not only guide his side to a comfortable eight-wicket win over the West Indies in the fifth ODI in Jamaica, but also hand them a 3-1 series win.
Electing to bat first, the West Indies made a decent start before losing opener Evin Lewis for nine runs.
Lewis’ opening partner, Kyle Hope, managed to make 46 before he was dismissed by Umesh Yadav.
Roston Chase and Jason Mohammed fell for 0 and 16 respectively before the West Indies temporarily halted India’s charge via Shai Hope and captain Jason Holder’s 48-run partnership.
However, once Holder was sent packing for 31 and Hope was removed by Mohammed Shami for 51, which came off 98 balls and included five boundaries, the West Indies began to collapse.
With the hosts losing wickets in a hurry, Rovman Powell struck a valiant 31 to get them to 205/9 off their 50 overs.
Shami for the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Yadav snapped up three, and Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 206 to win, India got off to a disastrous start as opener Shikhar Dhawan was removed by Alzarri Joseph for four runs on the sixth ball of the innings.
Ajinkya Rahane and Kohli calmed things down through a 79-run partnership before Rahane was given out lbw off the bowling of Devendra Bishoo for 39.
Kohli and Dinesh Karthik finished things off for India as they put together an unbeaten 122-run stand, during which Kohli brought up his hundred and Karthik his fifty.
Kohli ended up making 111 off 115 balls, which included 12 boundaries and two sixes, while Karthik remained undefeated on 50 off 52 deliveries, which included five boundaries.
Joseph and Bishoo claimed one wicket each.
Holder was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “We were going well at the start, Kyle Hope was going really well. He got out at an unfortunate time, and we never got back after that. The guys have to take control of their own actions – the faster we learn on our feet, the better it will be. I sympathise with the batsmen, but they need to learn quickly, and use the off-season well.
“We knew the surface in Jamaica is pretty good for batting, and we didn’t really capitalise. Three or four batsmen, we got in and got out. Our bowlers have been outstanding, we conceded one score of 300, but apart from that we did very well.”
Kohli, who was named Man of the Match, was delighted to have won the series, and said: “First and foremost the aim was to win the series, have a complete team performance. Special mention to Rahane, who’s come back after a while and was outstanding. Shikhar as well at the top. Kuldeep was outstanding.
“Really pleased with the team effort in general. Winning convincingly in a chase is always nice. For me it’s all about getting the team across the line. It’s not about stats – it’s about looking at the scoreboard, looking at the bowlers, which ones to target, which ones to give respect to. I like taking control of the situation, stringing partnerships. Again Ajinkya was very good, Dinesh too. People are grabbing their opportunities – Shami playing one-day cricket after two years.”
Rahane was named Man of the Series.