Whatever the Windies can do, India can do it better

By Kersi Meher-Homji 

The first two One Day Internationals (ODIs) between India and the West Indies in Port of Spain, West Indies, have been thrillers with India emerging winners by the narrowest of margins.

India won the first ODI by three runs and the second one by two wickets with just two balls to spare. More credit to India because their stars Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Rajendra Jadeja, Jasprti Bumrah… were taking well-earned rest.

First ODI on last Friday

Sent in to bat, India put up a big score, 7 for 308 in 50 overs. Skipper and opener Shikhar Dhawan top-scored in the match hitting 97 runs with 10 fours and 3 sixes. He added 119 runs for the first wicket with Shubman Gill (64 with 6 fours and 2 sixes) and 104 for the second wicket with Shreyas Iyer (54 with 5 fours and 2 sixes).

The West Indies (WI) were not overawed by this score and came inches close of winning. They totaled 6 for 305 to lose by just three runs. Kyle Mayers and Brandon King hit aggressive fifties but fell short by only three runs.

Dhawan was the Person of the Match.

Second ODI last night

Another exciting match with a heart-stopping climax.

Winning the toss, WI scored a breezy 6 for 311 in 50 overs. Opening batter Shai Hope hit an adventurous 115 enriched with 8 fours and 3 sixes. Then skipper Nicholas Pooran excited the home crowd by skying 6 sixes in his aggressive 74. Shardul Thakur took 3 for 54.

Can India chase this tall target? They did, scoring 8 for 312 in 49.4 overs.

Youngsters Shubman Gill 43, Shreyas Iyer 63, Sanju Samson 54 and Axar Patel 64 not out with five sixes.

India won by two wickets with just two balls remaining. For his aggressive batting and economical bowling, Axar was adjudged Person of the second ODI.

Axar Patel said at the presentation, “It’s very special, to get it in a crucial, series-winning cause. It is amazing. When I went out, I aimed for 10 to11 runs an over. We thought it could be done as we have IPL experience. We wanted to be calm and keep cover of the rate. This was special as this is my first ODI since 2017, even my first fifty came here. Winning the series too makes me feel wonderful.”

Winning captain Shikhar Dhawan added, “I feel it was a great a team performance. We made some mistakes but we took the challenge and we had self-belief. I was also surprised. Hats off to our middle order. All the batters were amazing, Axar and Avesh, who got those boundaries, were amazing.

“Our domestic and IPL cricket keeps us ready as we play in front of big crowds. As Axar said, he’s done it multiple times in IPL. At the halfway stage, we felt we pulled them. We got a couple of wickets, then Hope and Pooran took off. We thought we can do it if they can.

“We started slowly, I thought we can take off against left arm spin. I got out, Shreyas and Sanju played well. There was a silly mistake with the run out. But the way Axar played was amazing. Our support staff has been excellent.

“(On centurion Shai Hope) It was great when I had scored a 100 on my 100th match. Congrats to Hope on doing it, he’s a quality player. He’s got a bright present and future with West Indies.”

India has won the three match series 2-0 with the final ODI to be played on Wednesday, also at Port of Spain.

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