Beating India in India was always a huge task for the young and inexperienced Windies side, who had just about managed to qualify for the 2019 World Cup. Nobody expected them to cause much harm, especially considering the blistering form in which the hosts were, having already won the Asia cup with fair ease. At the end that is exactly what happened, as India ruthlessly outplayed them in the Test and the ODI series, not showing even the slightest of mercy for the Caribbean team.
To their credit though, Windies did push India slightly in the first two ODIs, losing the first one by a narrow margin before tying the second ODI. They even won a rare match in Pune, leveling the series 1-1 with two matches still to come. What followed though was a hapless performance that will certainly haunt them in a foreseeable future. However harrowing the experience may be, this will be a vital learning experience for a young side emerging from the sudden departure of A-listers like Gayle, Sammy, and the Bravo brothers among others.
If the last ODI was thought to be a remote ‘series decider’, it was anything but that. As if the bashing in Mumbai was not enough, WI outrightly got defeated in Trivandrum, capitulating for just 104 runs in 31.5 overs. India didn’t require a lot of time to reach the total, hence scoring the requisite in under 15 overs. The match was over before sunset as the hosts won the series by 3-1.
However, more agony may be in store for the Caribbean nation, as they still have to play 3 T20s before they return home.
The First Innings
Rovman Powell was sent to open for WI, having being asked by Virat Kohli to bat on a sluggish pitch. He was accompanied by Kieran Powell. Exactly why the surprising decision was taken by Holder is unknown, but it could be probably to them a quick start. Although on one end of the pitch Powell hung around, on the other he witnessed a lot of movements as WI batsmen came and went back.
First, it was Kieran who fell, in the very first over of the match on a Bhuvneshwar delivery that was ever moving away from the Jamaican. Next in the firing line was Hope, who soon joined Powell back in the pavilion. Marlon Samuels came next with a relatively aggressive intention, which was a bit surprising considering WI had lost two early wickets in quick succession. And it even did seemed to work, as the veteran batsman smacked in-form Bhuvneshwar for boundaries.
But then he was tamed by Jadeja, who tricked Samuels into scooping the ball into the hands of short cover.
Hetmyer, Holder and Fabien Allen soon followed the suite of making brief appearances on the pitch. The Windies captain though went down after scoring a vital 25, the highest among his fellow countrymen, to ensure that his side at least finished with a three-figure total.
Jadeja was in top form in the last ODI, as he returned with an impressive 4/39. It feels as though he has picked up from where he left before his brief hiatus prior to the match. Once the visitors were packed for, it did not take much time for Indian batsman to complete the formalities.
Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed early on in the second match. He seems to be in a rough patch of late and faces a serious threat from a 19-year-old Prithvi Shaw. It remains to be seen whether he will still retain the spot in the upcoming India tour of Australia.
It was unsurprising to see Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, two of the best and the most consistent batsman in the series, finish the proceedings in mere 14.5 overs, with the former even scoring a half-century.
Another Record for Virat Kohli
Such has been the form of the two batsmen that it would have been a nightmare for the officials to select one player for the man of the series award. While Kohli has broken records by scoring three consecutive centuries and has amassed 453 runs in the 5 ODIs against the Windies, Sharma has not been far behind. He has scored 150+ runs on two occasions and 7 overall to surpass Tendulkar, who had achieved the feat 5 times. Nevertheless, it was Captain Kohli who scalped the top honours.
As a result, he has now been awarded the Man of the Series title for the 7th time in his career. What is special about the award is that he has now equalled Prince of West Bengal, Sourav Ganguly’s record for 7 MoS award. Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, and Shaun Pollock with 15, 11, and 9 respectively are the only other players to have more Man of the Match to their name.