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Virat, Rohit power India to a comfortable win

Friday, December 02, 2021

Visakhapatnam: Youngsters Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma conjured a match-winning partnership as India beat West Indies by five wickets in the second ODI on Friday to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

Virat Kohli smashed his eighth ODI century and second at this ground. © AFP

Chasing a target of 270 set by the West Indies primarily due to an unbelievable 99-run 10th wicket stand between Ravi Rampaul (86) and Kemar Roach (24), India reached the target with 11 deliveries to spare thanks to Virat who scored his eighth international century and Rohit who is making most of his good form.

Kohli who hit 117 off only 123 balls with help of 14 boundaries added 163 runs for the fourth wicket with another in-form batsman Rohit Sharma (90 not out) to pave the way for victory.

Rohit who got his 10th half century looked in sublime touch as he scored his runs off only 98 deliveries. But he never looked in tearing hurry even as he hit seven fours and two sixes including a straight lofted six off Kemar Roach which was treat in itself.

Virat and Rohit came together at the fall of skipper Virender Sehwag's (26) wicket. The duo didn't take any undue risk on a track which was difficult for batting but at the same time didn't forget to punish the loose deliveries.

Once they had consolidated the situation from 84 for three, they played some crisp shots much to the delight of the sell-out capacity crowd. Virat in particular hit some lovely shots off Andre Russell and Darren Sammy's bowling.

It was Ravindra Jadeja who scored the winning runs as he lofted Andre Russell over mid-wicket boundary.

West Indies especially Ravi Rampaul who achieved the feat of scoring the highest runs for a No 10 batsman should be given credit for making a match of it. This was India's 11th successive ODI win at home.

Kohli made full use of the opportunity when Marlon Samuels could not hold on to a catch off his own bowling when the batsman was on 40. It wasn't exactly a wicket where scoring was easy but the matured Kohli didn't take any undue risk as he continued his love affair with this ground where he had scored a century against Australia last year.

Earlier, Rampaul created a world record of the highest score at No 10 when his unbeaten 86 from 66 balls powered West Indies to a fighting 269/9 after they were put into bat.

Inducted into the side in place of legspinner Anthony Martin, Rampaul slammed half a dozen of sixes and an equal number of boundaries in his undefeated 99-run last wicket partnership with Kemar Roach.

Rohit Sharma continues his good form with another unbeaten half-century. © AFP

Roach gave a fine support, guarding the other end with an useful knock of 24 from 36 balls (3x4) as the Indians failed to dismiss the tail.

In reply, India had a jittery start with Parthiv Patel (2) failing for yet another time when the wicketkeeper-opener edged one at the second slip (Sammy) with India 3/1 in 1.2 overs.

Dropped twice on 1 and 15, stand-in skipper Sehwag who was also hit on helmet by a Rampaul snorter was tentative in his approach as he along with Gautam Gambhir (12) failed for the second time in the series.

Gambhir and Sehwag fell on either side of a 44-minute stoppage due to drizzle to leave the match hanging in balance with India at 84 for three when Kohli was joined by last match's hero Sharma.

There was no urgency in their approach and at the same time they kept the required run-rate in check racing to their respective half centuries in an identical 61 balls each.

Sammy kept rotating his bowlers but the duo slowly took the match out of the Windies' grasp in clinical fashion.

Their century partnership came in 113 balls before Kohli completed his century, with a single to long-off from Simmons.

In the Windies innings, they slumped to 170 for nine before Rampaul carried a redemption job.

It's a total that would defy the tidy bowling analysis of Umesh Yadav (10-0-38-3) who gave India initial breakthroughs while R Vinay Kumar (10-2-43-2) was equally steady at the other end.

The duo had Windies reeling at 63/5 in the 17th over, but Lendl Simmons (78, 102 balls, 8x4, 1x6) held up one end.

Simmons had a 30-run third wicket partnership with Darren Bravo (13) before the left-hander fell to Vinay Kumar in a double wicket maiden over with Danza Hyatt (0) following suit.

With the top-half back in the hut, burly big-hitter Kieron Pollard gave Windies a ray of hope when he looked in his usual gutsy mood, starting off with a boundary from Yadav.

Pollard looked at his ruthless best when he hit Ashwin for couple of back-to-back sixes over long-on and long-off ropes but only to fall off the next ball, in what appeared a dubious decision by Indian umpire S Ravi.

Simmons' sixth wicket alliance with Pollard yielded 56 runs with the big hitter scoring 35 from 30 balls (3x4, 2x6).

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (2/39) then brought another Windies collapse when he dismissed Darren Sammy (2) and Andre Russell (11) before cutting short Simmons' fine innings with a brilliant throw from fine-leg boundary.

Simmons innings was full of authority as he decimated the Indian bowlers especially Ashwin who was at the receiving end conceding four of his six sixes.

Ashwin almost had Simmons on 70 from a brilliant diving effort by Vinay Kumar at extra cover but the India seamer could not hold it as the Windies duo remained undefeated.

But Rampaul's contribution mattered little in the end with Kohli and Sharma chasing the target in a classy manner.