After annihilating West Indies in the second ODI of the three-match series, Virat Kohli and his troops strode at the Barbati Stadium in Orissa with an objective to seal the series. However, the visitors exhibited a strong batting performance to post a competitive total of 315 runs on the scoreboard.
The Caribbean middle-order steadied their ship by stitching crucial partnerships after the departure of Lewis and Hope. Nicholas Pooran stole the limelight by mustering 89 runs off 64 deliveries. The left-hander was assisted by skipper Kieron Pollard, who also anchored the West Indies’ innings by scoring 71 runs.
The Pollard-Pooran duo stitched a record fifth-wicket partnership of 135 runs. Navdeep Saini, who donned the Indian ODI jersey for the first time, emerged as their top-performer as he scalped two wickets in his spell.
In reply, the opening duo of Rahul-Rohit, which has been in phenomenal form in this series. They stitched a 122-run opening partnership before Rohit Sharma was shown the exit door in the 22nd over by Jason Holder. However, Virat Kohli- who is currently on a run-scoring spree- marked his arrival into the game by constantly ticking the scoreboard with quick singles.
Virat Kohli smashed 85 off 81 to guide India to the victory
The world witnessed Virat Kohli’s masterclass yet again as the Indian skipper led his side from the front by smashing 85 runs off 81 deliveries. It was expected that the ‘Chase-Master’ will yet again stay till the end to ensure the victory for the Men in Blue.
However, he was dismissed by Keemo Paul in the 47th over. Ravindra Jadeja’s crucial cameo of 40 runs proved vital for India as the hosts raced to the triumph with six balls remaining. Shardul Thakur also finished things off for India by smashing 17 runs off six deliveries.
Virat Kohli and Co clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1 to end the year on a high. The hosts have etched their name into the history books as this is India’s tenth successive bilateral series win against West Indies. Rohit Sharma clinched the Man of the Series award while Virat Kohli was adjudged Man of the Match.
Here’s how the players reacted post the match:
Having done it so many times you obviously have bit more calmness about it, all you need is a mini partnership and the opposition will start to crumble. Shardul and Jaddu finshing is very good to see, these guys finishing the game is a much bigger thing. I had a nervous look when I walked back, but when I watched Jaddu he looked very confident. It’s been one of the best years in Indian cricket and apart from the World Cup, its been a beautiful year.
We will keep chasing the World Cup, we have that vision in place. Having a bunch of fast bowlers is a brilliant thing to have in Indian cricket and them taking the attention away from the spinners is a huge statement. We have it in us to win series overseas and our pacers deserve it fully. We are in the process of trying to find how people react to pressure. It’s just about identyfing those people and that’s something we will keep striving for.
It was a decider and we wanted to win this game and especially here in Cuttack it’s a good batting track. It was a little sad that I couldn’t bat longer, but then Rahul and Kohli batted well and I quite enjoyed that Shardul pull shot, it was much needed at that point. Extremely grateful for the year I had, the World Cup win would have been nice. The team gelled together collectively well and every individual stepped up which is a good sign.
There is no way I’m stopping here and there’s an exciting year coming up and I’m looking forward to it. I understand my batting really well and knowing the game plan you want to execute is very, very important. The challenge will come once we start travelling, we want to win games and want to stay on top.
“I was only thinking that the wicket is nice and the ball is coming to the bat. ‘Just try to bat properly, don’t play silly shots, look to time the ball’ – his advice to Shardul. There was a bit of pressure, I hadn’t batted a lot in the series, but here I was under pressure to win a game. Virat just asked me to play my natural game. The score was reflecting on the scene, so I knew the situation well.”
“If I would think about Kohli getting out, I would be under pressure. But the important thing was that there was a set batsman. The whole idea was to meet the ball. It was one of those days when I could connect well and luckily it came off. I know I have the talent to bat. If I can contribute these 20-25 runs when the team needs me, I would be glad. Going ahead, I would want to practice more. I would be more than glad to contribute with the bat.”
I don’t think there is much to be disappointed actually. I’m very very proud of the guys and yes we faltered a bit with the ball and in the field, but India yet again pushed us hard and showed why there are the number one team in the world. Lots of exciting talent in our team and we all know what they are capable of. Hetmyer had a good couple of knocks, Pooran and his superb ball striking, Hope and his consistency and the salute guy Cottrell, I belive there is lot to look forward in the future. For me it’s trying to contribute when its necessary and its been a good series for both teams.
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