Big shots, a high scoring encounter, rising run rates, a chase made challenging with the bowlers triggering a mini middle-over collapse, and in the end, a Virat Kohli special in a successful run-chase, as team India went over the line at Cuttack, they beat the West Indies by 4 wickets to rush home in what might have been a live-wire of a finish had the Windies bowlers succeeded in getting any more closer to the Indian tail.
And in so doing, India went on to register yet another emphatic ODI series win, their tenth on the trot, where the recent form is concerned.
But it wasn’t going to be any easy as the West Indies bowlers, who for the better part of India’s chase looked vapid and slightly shaken in front of Rohit and Rahul’s opening stand finesse, were able to claw back into action taking a flurry of wickets in the latter half of Team India’s chase.
But when you have belligerent batsmen of the class of India’s Virat Kohli, how can having a total despite in the upper reaches of 300 ever look safe?
What were the talking points from the final ODI of the West Indies vs India 2019 series?
Let’s find out:
Rahul and Rohit churn up big runs, again!
In a season where it seems given the fantastic form both batsmen have been in, one’s hardly missed someone experienced like Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit and Rahul steered India comfortably right at the start, yet again, in forging another comfortable stand.
This was enough to ensure that India remained in the hunt of the high West Indian total.
The duo would put on a feisty 122 inside 22 overs, with the first wicket to fall is that of ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma. But it wasn’t before the right-hander compiled his sixth fifty of the year, in the form of 63 of as many deliveries. But the fantastic opening stand checkered by batting of a very high class, something that’s been the order of the day in the limited-over series, saw familiar troubles for the West Indian bowlers as the likes of Holder, Cottrell, and Paul struggled to contain the early momentum earned by the attacking duo of Rahul and Rohit.
KL, who went on to score 77, formed one of the highlights of the day when he flicked a fuller one by Holder, pitched around off way over the square leg for perhaps the most elegant looking half a dozen of the day. The start given by the two fluent openers, both of them being in top form, was surely among the talking points from the final ODI between the West Indies and India 2019 series.
Windies bowlers seemed in the hunt, but never dangerous enough
Did the Windies bowlers really bowl to a plan? Their lack of commitment and the failure to keep India’s score under check early on formed the talking points from the final ODI between the West Indies vs India 2019 series.
In what was a slightly better exhibition of fast-paced bowling, anchored by Holder and Cottrell, even as the Pollard-led side managed to pick up some useful wickets, beginning from Iyer, Pant, and Yadav’s wickets, they never really looked venomous enough to contain a largely free-scoring Indian side.
One could say the most that Holder and Cottrell, who went for 6 and over 7 an over, respectively, could manage was to trigger a mini-collapse toward the middle and lower order of India’s composition. But even then, it was the inexperienced medium-pacer Keemo Paul, who clinched a vital 3 for 59 albeit bowling full-pitched on one occasion too many for his own good, who was able to give some contest to India.
Holder and Cottrell, as has been their story since the completion of the first game of the series, had no answers whatsoever to contain Rahul and Rohit, who led the early charge for Team India.
Pollard and Pooran’s brilliance
There was no irony whatsoever in noting that a man who’s so closely been a part of Pooran’s cricketing recovery following a nearly fatal 2015 car accident, was at the other end, supporting the exquisite left-hander as the West Indies stitched arguably the stand that brought them back into the game from the brink.
Pollard and Pooran, who joined forces in the 32nd over when the scoreboard was struggling to even get to 5 apiece, combined their Trinidadian flair and produced a maverick 135-run stand that took the visitors well past 300 in the end. But in so doing, they would wreak havoc; by way of striking 10 glorious sixes and punching 13 boundaries among them.
The lion’s share of the runs went to Nicholas Pooran, who, at one stage, given the hammering, he imparted to both Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav, and on occasions, Shami, seemed in proximity to what might have been his 2nd ODI ton, his 89 off 64, at the back of his 47-ball-75, doing enough to ensure the Windies punched above their weight despite losing Hetmyer and Chase in quick succession. On the other hand, was captain Kieron Pollard who indeed played what might’ve been his most inspirational limited-overs knock, of late, particularly since assuming the Caribbean leadership.
Pollard’s 51-ball-74 featured 7 rambunctious sixes and paved way for one of the finest counter-attacking innings, demonstrated by his taking the attack to Shami and Kuldeep, as seen in recent times.
While one must spare a thought for both Rahul and Rohit, without whose setting the early tempo to the Indian innings, the run-chase may never have got on the right track, if there was a batsman whom you just couldn’t take your eyes off from then it had to be that great batsman again: Virat Kohli.
The rasp cuts, punchy drives and elegantly crafted strokes on the onside made India seem ever more in control of the proceedings, even as the flurry of wickets in the middle and closing stages, did give the chasers quite some work to do.
Where the Windies bowlers overpitched, Kohli simply drove them away to the square and cover regions. And when they bowled short, he pulled them with a sense of elan.
In so doing, he produced his 85 off 81 and reached his 55th fifty.
Moreover, he also overtook Rohit Sharma in scoring most ODI runs this year, clearly among the talking points from the final ODI between the West Indies and India 2019 series.
India’s fielding gaffe- does Pant need to make a move on?
Among the big talking points from the final ODI between the West Indies and India 2019 series was Rishabh Pant’s keeping skills.
While everything about India’s game, in the end, was fine, if there was an element that seemed rather sedate or downright average then it was wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant’s glovework.
While there were at least 4 dropped catches, one of them from the blade of Nicholas Pooran being rather difficult and perhaps out of the reach for the start-framed keeper, there were several gaffes early on in the Windies innings, much before Pooran even walked out to bat.
While Roston Chase was on naught, facing just the second delivery of his inning, from Kuldeep, Pant dropped a sitter as the right-hander edged a flighted delivery, which he failed to convert into a scoring shot. If that wasn’t enough, Pant also dropped the big-hitting Shimron Hetmyer twice around the left-hander’s legs.
While luckily, in the end, the dropped chances didn’t come to haunt India, Pant’s lousy keeping was perhaps the spectacle you didn’t expect from an athlete vying for attention at the international arena. Perhaps, that’s a serious area he’d mark for improvement before the left-hander costs his team dearly.