IND v WI 1st ODI: Spinners, Rohit shine as India thrashes West Indies by six wickets

Riding on Chahal’s four-wicket haul, Washington Sundar’s three scalps and skipper Rohit Sharma's fifty, India defeated the West Indies by six wickets to surge ahead in the three-match series.

Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the first ODI between India and West Indies at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad Sunday.   -  PTI

Yuzvendra Chahal was not sure whether his delivery to Shamarh Brooks had found an edge. He walked towards stumper Rishabh Pant for clarity, only to realise that even he was in two minds.

By then, West Indies was five down for 78 and India’s limited overs captain Rohit Sharma knew that another wicket at that point would make things easier for his side.

And that’s when Virat Kohli entered the scene. “Mere ko toh laga edge tha…” he told Rohit, quite convincingly.

AS IT HAPPENED

Prior to that, India had successfully appealed for two reviews. And now, with Virat’s assurance, Rohit made up his mind and the technology proved that the erstwhile limited-overs skipper was spot on in his assessment as Brooks had to walk back to the pavilion.

On the occasion of India’s 1000th ODI on Sunday, the Narendra Modi Stadium witnessed such moments of camaraderie. And riding on Chahal’s four-wicket haul and Washington Sundar’s three scalps, India defeated the West Indies by six wickets to surge ahead in the three-match series.

With spectators not allowed at the stadium due to COVID-19 protocols, there were no celebrations for the milestone match, but that did not have an impact on the team’s performance as the spinners managed to restrict the West Indies to 176.

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As Chahal and Washington wreaked havoc on a slow track, the West Indies batters made a beeline to the pavilion, except for Jason Holder (57) and Fabian Allen (29) - who stitched a 78-run stand for the eighth-wicket to help the touring side cross the 160-run mark. But their efforts were not enough.

Put in to bat, the touring party lost opener Shai Hope cheaply for just eight. A scrambled seam ball by Mohammed Siraj nipped back in after pitching and took the inside edge of Hope’s bat onto the wicket. While Prasidh Krishna, too, joined the action with two wickets, it was Chahal, who pegged India back into the game, trapping Nicholas Pooran in the front for 18. It was also Chahal’s 100th ODI wicket.

On the eve of the series opener, West Indies captain Kieron Pollard had stated that the team wanted to bat for 50 overs. However, against a versatile Indian bowling attack, none of the batters - including Pollard - could extend their stay in the middle. By the end of the 23rd over, West Indies was reeling at 79 for seven. The team would not have been able to put up a 150-plus total had Holder and Allen not stepped up.

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Chasing a rather low total, India had a solid start with captain Rohit Sharma’s 51-ball 60. Playing an ODI after March last year, Rohit looked in shape as he dominated the West Indies bowling line-up, crafting his innings with 10 fours and a six.

Opening the innings with his erstwhile Mumbai Indians teammate Ishan Kishan, who was formally drafted into the team late on Saturday, Rohit backed his natural game and timed the ball well.

Returning to the team after an injury lay-off, Rohit’s return to form was important for the side and with the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah watching the proceedings from the VIP enclosure, the newly-appointed white ball captain did not disappoint.

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While Ishan played a bit slow, which is quite unlike him, Rohit accelerated the strike with a flurry of boundaries, before being trapped leg before by Alzarri Joseph.

Virat Kohli, the next man in, started his innings with two consecutive boundaries, but the fourth delivery by Joseph saw him getting a top edge, and Kemar Roach catching it at long leg.

Ishan’s dismissal and a run out by Rishabh Pant in quick succession did put India under pressure, but with Suryakumar Yadav (not out 34) and debutant Deepak Hooda (unbeaten 26) forging a 62-run stand, India romped home with 22 overs to spare.

After a successful domestic season for Rajasthan, batting all-rounder Hooda was handed his maiden India ODI cap on Sunday and the 26-year-old made the opportunity count.

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