India struck back with a vengeance in Visakhapatnam to level the three-match ODI series against West Indies. The batting department, who faced some criticism after an under-par show in Chennai first delivered the brutality. They put up a score of 387-5 on the board, which pushed the visitors firmly on the backfoot. The bowling performance was then highlighted by Kuldeep Yadav’s hat-trick, as the Windies were bowled out for 280. The mouth-watering series decider will now be played in Cuttack on 22nd December.
Rohit, Rahul put the visitors through the sword
The Indian top-order were one of the culprits in their defeat in the series opener. They could not contribute much which meant that India were always going to be that extra 20-25 runs short. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul ensured that there was no repeat of the previous failure. They batted together for 36.2 overs, all but ensuring that the Windies were knocked out of the contest. Both of them scored brilliant tons in a partnership of 227 runs to set up the perfect platform for the carnage which soon followed. Trying to up the tempo, Rahul finally perished on 102 against Joseph.
Pant, Iyer complete the demolition job
Which such a strong base to build upon, the Indian batters had all the freedom to open up their arms. Rohit got the party started, living up to his reputation as the Hitman. Once he was dismissed on 159, Rishabh Pant walked on to the field and took things to another level. His carefree cameo of 39 off only 16 deliveries gave a glimpse as to why he is so highly rated in the international cricketing circles. Shreyas Iyer too notched up his fourth consecutive fifty. His knock of 53 in only 32 deliveries all but sealed his place in the Indian middle-order. He was especially severe against Roston Chase in a massive over which saw the offie concede 31 runs. In the end, Jadhav too chipped in with 16 off 10 deliveries to help India to a gigantic score of 387-5.
Windies crumble after a steady start
The Windies needed a solid platform from their openers in a highly improbable run-chase. They got exactly that as Hope and Lewis put up a stand of 61 on the board. Lewis was the first to perish with Shardul Thakur getting the breakthrough. The hero of the last match, Hetmyer couldn’t contribute much being run-out for 7. Roston Chase also made an early walk back to the pavilion on 4 after a peach of a delivery from Jadeja.
The rebuilding job then fell on the hands of Hope and Pooran. While Hope again played the anchor role to perfection, Pooran took the attack to the bowlers. Their partnership of 106 took the Windies out of the doldrums from 86-3 to 192, giving them a glimmer of hope. But catastrophe would soon follow as Kuldeep and Shami came to the fore.
Kuldeep, Shami deliver the knockout punch
It was Mohammed Shami first who struck in back-to-back deliveries to firmly put India in command. First, it was Pooran who was dismissed for 75 off only 47 deliveries. Skipper Pollard too couldn’t hang around, getting out for a golden duck. If Shami put India in the driver’s seat, Kuldeep delivered the knockout punch. He succeeded in grabbing his second ODI hat-trick with scalps of Hope, Holder and Joseph. Keemo Paul and Khary Pierre then tried their level best to delay the inevitable. But in the end, they still fell short by 107 runs as the hosts celebrated levelling the series.