Dominant India seeks 3-0 lead

India faces West Indies in the fourth One-Day International in Antigua, after resounding victories in the second and third matches.

Ravichandran Ashwin (second from left) is back among the wickets after a dry run in the Champions Trophy.   -  AFP

Foot firmly set on the pedal, a marauding India would be aiming to seal the series with yet another resounding performance against West Indies in the fourth One-Day International (ODI), here on Sunday.

With comprehensive back-to-back victories in the second and third ODIs, it seems a mere formality as Virat Kohli and his men are slowly inching towards a complete rout of their opposition despite the first game being abandoned. The victory margins of 105 and 93 runs are testimony to India’s complete dominance in the current series.

West Indies has looked like a rag-tag outfit, having failed to put up much fight.

For Kohli, a 4-0 victory may not earn him a lot of plaudits due to the quality of opposition but would definitely help him to deflect the unwanted controversy that was created due to his alleged role in the sudden departure of national coach Anil Kumble.

The best part about India’s performance is that it seems to have had all bases covered. The batsmen have been among the runs while the bowlers have displayed exemplary discipline in their effort. Ajinkya Rahane, with scores of 62, 103 and 72, has made full use of the opportunities. Shikhar Dhawan, despite a rare failure in the third game, has been in red-hot form.

Kohli has been consistent as ever but the middle-order, which wasn’t getting much game time, came to the fore during the third game.

Some pressure

There was some pressure after Dhawan and Kohli departed early in that game but M. S. Dhoni anchored the innings with an unbeaten 79. Yuvraj Singh could have scored more but 39 will give him some confidence.

Kohli also gave Kedar Jadhav an opportunity to up the ante as he had given Hardik Pandya a go in the second game. Kedar’s unbeaten 40, filled with unorthodox shots, went a long way in India getting past the 250-run mark on a difficult track. “Kedar is completely different player as he likes to express himself in the last 8-10 overs. It was because of Kedar and Mahi bhai (Dhoni), we got 20 runs extra,” Rahane had said after the match.

While chasing a target of 252, on a slowish wicket, the West Indies just surrendered meekly. Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is improving with each game and Ravindra Jadeja may be a bit worried with the competition from the Uttar Pradesh lad, who has more variations up his sleeve.

R. Ashwin was also back in form with three for 28; he completed a personal milestone of 150 ODI wickets.

Dhoni was seen giving some tips from behind the stumps and Rahane admitted that his inputs were still invaluable. “We all are lucky to have him. The kind of knowledge he has, Virat can walk up to him any time and ask for his suggestions,” Rahane said.

It will be interesting to see if Kohli decides to tweak his playing XI; he may get Dinesh Karthik or Rishabh Pant in the middle-order in place of Yuvraj.

The squads (from):

India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, M. S. Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja.

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams.

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