IND vs WI: Blue christmas for West Indies as Virat Kohli as Co seal ODI series
Virat Kohli's India beat Kieron Pollard's West Indies by four wickets to win third ODI and clinch series in Cuttack; having lost the preceding T20I series too, the Caribbeans head home for the festive season empty-handed
Cuttack: A nerveless Shardul Thakur did what the peerless Virat Kohli could not, his most defining cameo powering India to a series-clinching four-wicket victory over the West Indies in the third ODI here on Sunday.
India's top three—Rohit Sharma (63), KL Rahul (77) and Kohli (85)—fired in unison in a 316-run chase but it got slippery in the end when the Indian captain left the scene with 30 required off 23 balls.
It was then that Thakur, in the company of a composed Ravindra Jadeja (39 not out), smashed 17 runs off six balls with the help of a six and four off Sheldon Cottrell to seal the issue with eight balls to spare. This was India's 10th successive series win over WI.
India's Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur celebrate after being unbeaten in the third ODI at Cuttack yesterday. Pics/AFP
Displaying panache and patience in equal measure, Kohli made 85 off 81 balls, but got out to an innocuous Keemo Paul delivery with India some distance from the target. But Thakur had other ideas after Kohli became the year's highest scorer with 2455 runs. Set a challenging target of 316 in the series-decider, India were cruising at 122 for no loss when Rohit was dismissed for a run-a-ball 63 in the 22nd over. Rahul (77 off 89 balls) and Shreyas Iyer fell after the addition of 21 runs, and the task became tricky when Rishabh Pant was bowled by Paul.
At that stage, India were 201 in the 35th over but Kohli steadied the ship. However, for a change, he could not finish the job. In the last five years, this is the first time Kohli has got out in the 80s or 90s in an ODI chase.
Earlier, skipper Kieron Pollard saved his best and, along with a savage Nicholas Pooran, helped the West Indies post 315 for five. The Windies left it late with Nicholas Pooran (89) and skipper Kieron Pollard (74 not out off 51 balls) taking the Indian attack into smithereens stitching together a stand of 135 run from 98 balls.
WI batsmen fire late
The Indian bowling attack that looked steady during the first 40 overs, knocked 118 in the last 10 overs. Pollard smashed seven sixes and three fours en route to his unbeaten knock while Pooran hit three sixes and 10 fours. However, earlier, it was a complete un-Windies like show from the visitors as it took them 41 overs to reach the 200-mark, even as they had enough wickets in hand on a flat batting deck.
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