Rohit Sharma captivated with his languid brilliance in company of an equally graceful KL Rahul before Kuldeep Yadav topped it up with a hat-trick in India’s series-levelling 107-run victory against the West Indies in the second one-dayer at Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.
The Indian vice-captain hit his 28th ODI hundred – 159 off 138 balls – and added 227 for the opening stand with fellow centurion Rahul (102 off 104 balls) as India put up an imposing 387/5 in 50 overs.
Rishabh Pant (39 off 16 balls) and Shreyas Iyer’s (53 off 32 balls) thoroughly entertaining 72-run stand in only four overs also provided the impetus required during a final flourish. In reply, the West Indies, who looked good at 192/3 in the 30th over, were bowled out for 280 in 43.3 overs.
It was Mohammed Shami (3/39 in 7.3 overs), who removed the dangerous Nicholas Pooran (75 off 47 balls) and skipper Keiron Pollard (0) off successive deliveries to spark a West Indies collapse.
Kuldeep (3/52 in 10 overs) then removed the dogged Shai Hope (78 off 85 balls), Jason Holder (11) and Alzarri Joseph (0) off successive deliveries to seal the issue in favour of India. This was his second hat-trick in ODIs. He became the first Indian player to claim two hat-tricks in international cricket.
On a shirtfront of a track, West Indies was never going to make a comeback after losing five wickets for 18 runs and it was only a matter of time before India ended their four-match losing streak at home. The decider will now be played at Cuttack on December 22.
Rohit, as usual, batted at his own pace and looked like the bandmaster of an orchestra, who made the Caribbean bowlers dance to his tune.
Sheldon Cottrell (2/83 in 9 overs) was punished with such ferocity and it was more or less similar for the rest of the pack – Alzarri Joseph (0/68 in 9 overs) and Keemo Paul (0/62 in 9 overs). It was also a perfect demonstration on how to press the accelerator in this format – first 50 off 67, the next off 40 balls and the last off only 25.
Rohit’s innings had 17 boundaries and five sixes. The West Indies bowlers were wary of pitching it up to him fearing his drives but ended up bowling short on the hips, and the Indian gleefully played the shot again and again.
Incidentally, Rohit was well behind Rahul in the race for half-century but reached the three-figure mark before the Karnataka batsman. As Rohit took his time to settle down, Rahul went on the offensive taking on Cottrell first up with a flurry of boundaries.
It was a rare failure for skipper Virat Kohli (0) but the capacity crowd at the YSR ACA-VDCA Stadium was not disappointed as Pant and Iyer hit eight sixes between them in a span of four overs to ensure the score went past 375.
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.