The 2nd ODI between India and Windies produced a thrilling encounter. None of the sides finished victorious while none ended up losing either. Until the last ball, the game could have gone either way. A thriller ended in a tie and deservingly so as both sides gave their everything.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli won his second consecutive toss and contrary to the first ODI, elected to bat first. India didn’t get off to a good start as the centurion from the last game – Rohit Sharma fell to Kemar Roach for just 4. The pitch wasn’t the easiest to bat under the beating sun initially.
Shikhar Dhawan was on the aggressive during the course of his stay and struck 4 fours and a six. But his stay was cut short by Ashley Nurse for 29. At 40/2, the hosts were in a slight spot of bother. Kohli got Ambati Rayudu’s company and the duo weathered the storm. They rebuilt the innings and without taking too many risks, kept the scoreboard ticking.
The familiar Kohli show again
Kohli got to his fifty in the 25th over as the score reached 124/2. Two overs later, Rayudu too brought up his half-century. The pair was intending to up the ante and took the score to 178/2 after 32 overs. Rayudu missed out on a hundred in the hunt for a big shot when he was bowled by Nurse for 73.
MS Dhoni walked out to bat but the focus was on the captain as he was inching towards a special milestone. As Kohli scored his 81st run, he brought up 10000 ODI runs and became the fastest to the landmark beating Sachin Tendulkar. Dhoni was coming into his own but unfortunately, had to walk back for 20 off 25 balls courtesy Obed McCoy.
After 41 overs, India reached 224/4 and there was a need to increase the run-rate. Rishabh Pant, playing his debut ODI innings, got out for 17 after striking a couple of fours. Kohli then took matters into his own hands. He notched up his 37th ODI ton and the second consecutive of the series.
He went berserk in the last 5 overs and smashed the bowlers all over the place. Ravindra Jadeja lost his wicket to McCoy in the penultimate over but Kohli was unflustered. He ended up unbeaten at 157 from 129 balls with 13 fours and 4 sixes as India accumulated a massive 321/6 after 50 overs.
In reply, Windies had a decent start to the chase. They scored 36 from the first 6 overs. Mohammed Shami provided India the first breakthrough by sending back Kieran Powell for 18. Amidst some big hits, Kuldeep Yadav removed Chandrapaul Hemraj and Marlon Samuels in quick succession. The visitors were at 78/3 after 12 overs and in dire need of a partnership.
Hetmyer-Hope led the charge
The dew played its part and made batting easy. Shimron Hetmyer, the centurion of Guwahati took full toll of the conditions and went after the spinners who were finding it hard to grip the ball. He kept sending the ball packing into the crowds while Shai Hope was a mere spectator for a while.
The run-rate was kept well above 6 and the scoreboard pressure wasn’t existing for a large part. After 30 overs, the score cruised to 205/3. Hetmyer was racing towards his second century of the series and India needed to see the back of him soon. The call was answered by Yuzvendra Chahal who dismissed the left-hander for 94 off 64 balls in the 32nd over.
There was a slight halt on the scoring rate but Hope kept going strong. Kuldeep came back to bag his 3rd wicket in the form of Rovman Powell for 18 in the 38th over. The equation came down to 63 from the last 10 overs and the visitors in the driver’s seat. Indian spinners bowled some tight overs and didn’t allow the batsmen to run away with the game.
A thrilling finish
Hope brought up 3 figures and kept his side in the hunt. Alongside his captain Jason Holder, he brought it to 27 from 24 balls and then to 22 from the last 3 overs. Chahal bowled a terrific over and gave away just 2 runs and to add to the worries of Windies, Holder got run out. Needing 20 from 2 overs, Shami too stood up and conceded just 6 runs off the penultimate over.
With 14 to defend, Umesh Yadav had the duties with the ball. He began well by conceding just 1 but a leg bye traveled to the boundary next. A couple of the next ball meant 7 were needed from the last 3 balls. Ashley Nurse held out at third-man but brought Hope on strike. The penultimate ball went for a couple leaving 5 to get from the last ball.
Yadav bowled a fuller delivery outside off, Hope drilled that behind point. Ambati Rayudu dived full length on the boundary but couldn’t keep it in. The match was tied and none of the teams celebrated. It was a fitting end to a wonderful contest but it’s the home side that has the lead of 1-0 with 3 games to go.
India won the toss and opted to bat first
India: 321/6 in 50 overs
Virat Kohli 157* (129), Ambati Rayudu 73 (80)
Ashley Nurse 46/2 (10), Marlon Samuels 36/1 (5)
Windies: 321/7 in 50 overs
Shai Hope 123* (134), Shimron Hetmyer 94 (64)
Kuldeep Yadav 67/3 (10), Mohammed Shami 59/1 (10)
Player of the Match: Virat Kohli