Rohit, Rahul and Kuldeep scintillate as India levels the series

By Kersi Meher-Homji

A magnificent opening stand of 227 runs by openers Rohit Sharma (159 with five sixes) and Lokesh Rahul (102 with three sixes) resulted in India amassing 5 for 387 in the second One-Day International against the West Indies at Visakhapatnam yesterday [18th December].

Despite skipper Virat Kohli being dismissed for a first ball duck, Shreyas Iyer (53 with four sixes) and Rishbah Pant (39 with four sixes) hit out as India scored at a fabulous run-rate of 7.74.

As the Windies had beaten India by eight wickets in the previous ODI at Chennai three days ago, their batsmen took up the challenge bravely. Opener Shai Hope (78 with three sixes) and middle order batsmen Nicholas Pooran 75 with six sixes) and Keemo Paul (46 with three sixes) kept the visitors in the hunt.

Then left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav took a hat-trick to keep the batsmen in check. Fast medium bowler Mohammed Shami captured wickets at the other end and the Windies were all out for 280 to lose by 107 runs.

This tied the series one-all with the final match to be played at Cuttack on 22nd December.

The run-rich match kept spectators entertained as 29 sixes were smashed all over the ground, 16 by the Indian batsmen and 13 by the West Indians.

It must have been a tough decision to select the Man of the Match as Rohit, Rahul, Kuldeep and Shami had contributed richly to India levelling the three match ODI series. Eventually, Rohit won it for his spell-binding innings of 159.

Rohit Sharma holds the record of being the only batsman to hit three double centuries in ODIs, including the highest score of 264 runs against Sri Lanka at Kolkata on 13 November, 2014.

Kuldeep Yadav became the first Indian to take two hat-tricks in ODIs; his first was against Australia at Kolkata on 21 September 2017.

The big worry for Indian supporters has been the poor form of Virat Kohli in the first two ODIs.  In the previous match at Chennai he had scored four runs followed by a zero in this match. His batting average reads an incredible 2.00.

Beware West Indians, tiger Virat is on a vicious run-hunt in the final ODI at Cuttack this Sunday!

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