IND v WI: Kohli, Rohit raze Windies for comfortable win

Thanks to a 246-run partnership between the duo, India waltzes to its target of 323 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Complete performance: Virat Kohli celebrates his century in Guwahati on Monday.   -  PTI

Virat Kohli may be coming off a short break from One-Day International (ODI) cricket, but he has lost none of his insatiable appetite for runs. The Indian skipper, who was rested for the Asia Cup, announced his return with a typically chanceless knock, against West Indies here on Sunday. Kohli (140, 107b, 21x4, 2x6) and the equally-impressive Rohit Sharma (152 n.o., 117b, 15x4, 8x6) powered the home team to a comfortable eight-wicket win in the first of the five-match series.

Kohli's golden run continued as he notched up his fourth 50-over century of the calendar year. The 29-year-old has now piled on 889 runs in 2018, at an incredible average of 127.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

On the day, Kohli played every shot in the book, and effortlessly found the gaps as well. He came in to bat with India on 10 for one, facing a tough 323-run target. When Kohli was out stumped, the unit required a routine 67 runs from 17 overs. The 246-run second-wicket stand between Kohli and Rohit had effectively shut the rival out of the contest.

Second fiddle

Rohit, meanwhile, was happy to play second fiddle to his flamboyant partner. He did have his fair share of the spotlight, too, smacking some monstrous sixes. One heave, which sent the ball to the stadium’s upper-tier, brought the spectators to their feet. For the victim, offspinner Ashley Nurse, and indeed for the rest of his team-mates, it was a frustratingly long night.

Fireworks: Wagon wheel for Virat Kohli's innings (140, 107b, 21X4, 2X6).

 

Only a fiery early spell from Oshane Thomas threatened the Indian party. Featuring in his first international match, Thomas consistently touched speeds of 145-kmph, and accounted for Shikhar Dhawan cheaply. Thomas then had Kohli jabbing away from his body, but the edge evaded the slip cordon. Thomas may have ended with expensive figures, but he did show considerable promise.

Hetmyer dazzles

Earlier, after being put in to bat, West Indies rode on a fluent century from Shimron Hetmyer to get past the 300-run mark. Hetmyer recorded his third hundred in 13 ODI appearances, while going about the business like a veteran.

In an innings marked by terrific stroke-making, Hetmyer displayed grace, timing and power. He preferred the mid-wicket area, going down on one knee to use the slog-sweep against the spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja.

Hetmyer’s first maximum came off Jadeja, when he fetched the ball from outside off-stump and deposited it over the mid-wicket fence. Kohli brought on pacer Mohammed Shami, but it had little impact. The Guyana batsman first cleared his front leg and thrashed the ball into the mid-wicket stands, and in the next delivery, showcased great balance with a rocket straight punch.

In full flow: Shimron Hetmyer's innings of 106 was marked by grace, timing and power. Photo: AFP

The crowd was thrilled when Hetmyer stood on one leg and executed a pull — a ‘Nataraja’ shot made famous by a certain Brian Lara. He brought up his century with the highlight of the West Indies innings — a sweetly-timed front-foot chip off Shami which went for six. The 21-year-old southpaw was eventually dismissed for a 78-ball 106, when he top-edged Ravindra Jadeja to debutant Rishabh Pant at deep fine-leg.

Before Hetmyer’s exploits, it was opener Kieran Powell who kept the score moving. Kieran (51, 39b, 6x4, 2x6) looked in control, until he holed out to Dhawan at long-on. Shai Hope (32, 51b) and Rovman Powell (22, 23b) got in, but fell to loose shots. Marlon Samuels, playing his 200th ODI, was taken out for a duck. He lunged forward to a full Chahal delivery, only for the ball to hit the pads in front of the stumps.

Captain Jason Holder’s 38, and an unbroken 44-run ninth-wicket stand between Devendra Bishoo (22 n.o.) and Kemar Roach (26 n.o.) helped West Indies put up a good total. Yet, the contest turned out to be heavily one-sided.