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India record 4-1 series victory despite Pollard heroics

Sunday, December 11, 2021

Kieron Pollard's stunning maiden century went in vain as India beat West Indies by 34 runs to win the fifth and final one day to record an emphatic 4-1 series triumph on Sunday.

Manoj Tiwary's maiden ODI hundred laid platform for India's victory. © AFP

Electing to bat on a track where the ball was keeping low, India reached respectable 267 for five --- courtesy Manoj Tiwary's (104) first ODI century and a fine 80 by Virat Kohli.

It was Pollard whose magnificent power-hitting helped West Indies reach as close as 233 in 44.1 overs. Pollard hit as many as 10 sixes and four fours in his smashing knock of 119 off 110 deliveries. He was last man out in his bid to clear the long-off boundary where Ajinkya Rahane took a smart catch off Suresh Raina's bowling. Such was his disappointment that he was finding it difficult to walk out.

While chasing, West Indies were pegged back by comeback man Irfan Pathan and Abhimanyu Mithun who blew away the top four with only 36 on board.

After Ravindra Jadeja removed Denesh Ramdin with scoreboard reading 78 for five, T20 specialist Pollard and all-rounder Andre Russell (53, 42 balls, 5x4, 3x6) launched a furious counter-attack adding 89 runs in only 79 deliveries.

Once Russell was run-out by a direct throw from stand-in skipper Gautam Gambhir, Pollard who was hitting sixes at will ran out of partners.

It was match where both Pollard and Tiwary had a point to prove to their detractors that they belong to the top flight.

The immensely talented Tiwary finally displayed his true potential as he scored his maiden century on a difficult track to help India reach a competitive 267 for five

The Bengal boy who has been in the fringes for quite some time and has never really done justice to his talent in the previous five ODI appearances, grabbed the opportunity with both hands to score 104 off 126 balls (10x4, 1x6) before he had to retire due to cramps.

Coming out to bat in the first over of the match with India reeling at 1/2, Tiwary conjured two important partnerships ---first 83 runs with stand-in captain Gautam Gambhir (31, 41 balls, 2x4) for the third wicket and then 117 runs for the fourth wicket with Virat Kohli (80, 85 balls, 5x4).

Kieron Pollard smashed his maiden ODI hundred but it went in vain as West Indies lost by 34 runs. © AFP
With Sehwag opting to rest, Gambhir won the toss and elected to bat. To his horror, Ajinkya Rahane (0) and Parthiv Patel (0) were dismissed of successive deliveries in Kemar Roach's opening over. Both deliveries kept low. While Rahane was trapped leg-before, Patel was played on by a delivery that didn't rise after pitching.

The situation was certainly not conducive for someone who is yet to cement his place in the Indian ODI line-up with a highest score of 24 before this match.

However Tiwary started off with confident drive through the mid-off region off Andre Russell's bowling.

With the pitch keeping on the slower side and the odd-ball shooting up, both Tiwary and Gambhir didn't take any undue risk and concentrated on taking singles hitting the odd boundary in between. Yet, the team's 50 came fairly quickly in the 11th over.

Gambhir-Tiwary duo added 83 runs for the third wicket before leg-spinner Anthony Martin got one to pitch on the leg-middle line and straighten to find the skipper plumb in-front.

Tiwary used his feet well against both offie Sunil Narine and Martins.

The Tiwary-Kohli duo played freely and also ran well between the wickets. As Manoj entered the 80's he started cramping up but manfully carried on.

Tiwary's best shot came when he effortlessly lifted Narine over long-off for a six. As he ran a few singles to reach 99, he was seen in extreme discomfort.

A deft glance off Narine brought up the magic figure as a completely drained looking Tiwary acknowledged the standing ovation given by his teammates. But soon after the completion of his landmark, he walked off the field.

Rohit Sharma named man-of-the-series for his outstanding batting performance. © AFP

Kohli, who had by then reached his 18th ODI fifty continued in company of Rohit Sharma (21, 3x4). Just when it looked that Kohli would get his second ODI century, he was holed out in the deep trying to go for a big hit.

Rohit was dismissed when he tried playing for the turn off Narine to get bowled. Suresh Raina (16) hit a few blows while Pathan (4) played out a maiden over which robbed India a chance of scoring another 10-15 runs.

Pathan however made amends as he struck with the very delivery of the West Indian innings when he got one to dart back in to trap Lendl Simmons (0) leg before. However the ball looked like it was going over the stumps.

In his third over, Pathan removed left-hander Kieran Powell (15) whose inside edged a delivery onto the stumps.

Marlon Samuels got a beauty from Mithun and was beaten all ends up but to bowler's pleasant surprise, umpire Sudhir Asnani raised his finger.

Debutant Jason Mohammed got a delivery from Mithun that straightened after pitching hitting him on the middle and leg line.

At 36 for four, Pollard and Denesh Ramdin added 42 runs in 6.1 overs with Pollard starting hitting the big shots.

Jadeja removed Ramdin but then Russell was the ideal partner Pollard was looking for. Suddenly runs started coming in sixes and fours with Jadeja (3/62) being punished severely.

Pollard was hitting most of his sixes in the arc between long-off and long-on. Russell also complemented him well and got a quickfire 50 as well. It was a direct throw from the short third-man region by skipper Gambhir that saw the back of Russell. Pollard continued hitting the big sixes.

Even Pathan (2/42) coming back for his second spell wasn't spared as he was hit for a four followed by a big six.

Pollard was finally lucky to get his century when Kohli dropped a dolly at long-on as the ball trickled down to the boundary ropes. However with not much batting left at the other end, his pyrotechnics was supposed to come to an end.