West Indies spoiled Virat Kohli's night out, as the visitor held India to a nerve-wracking tie in the second ODI here on Wednesday.
Faced with a stiff target of 322, the visitor rode on terrific knocks from Shimron Hetmyer (94, 64b, 4x4, 7x6) and Shai Hope (123 n.o.,134b,10x4, 3x6) to pull off an incredible result.
Hope faced the last ball from Umesh Yadav, his side needing five runs to win. The pacer erred in line and length, bowling a full delivery outside off. The set man Hope blasted the ball through point, past the outstretched hands of Ambati Rayudu on the boundary line. The stunned 24,000-odd crowd fell silent and left the ground with mixed feelings about the outcome.
Fellow fast bowler Mohammed Shami had done exceptionally well to give away only six runs in the previous over.
Umesh then took charge with 14 runs to defend, but he could not quite get the job done. A lucky four leg-byes, taken in the second ball of the over, did not help India's cause. West Indies may be yet to register its first win of the tour, but this performance has provided plenty of positives to take home.
Kohli juggernaut continues
Earlier, with a single to long-on, Kohli reached the 10,000-run summit in ODI cricket. It is one among the several milestone moments of his career, though going by his undying love for runs, it won’t be his last.
During the course of his unbeaten 129-ball 157, Kohli broke several records. He became the fastest to reach 10,000 runs (205 innings), easily surpassing his nearest rival, Sachin Tendulkar (259 innings).
Incidentally, when Kohli got to the five-figure mark, his batting partner was M.S. Dhoni, who led the side when Kohli made his international debut back in 2008.
Kohli also brought up 1,000 runs for the calendar year, the second to do so after England’s Jonny Bairstow. Kohli has taken 10 matches less than Bairstow to achieve the feat - a sure indicator of his utter domination over rival bowlers in recent times.
These landmark events would have been pushed to another day, had West Indies captain Jason Holder not fluffed a chance when Kohli was on 44.
A well-disguised slower one from debutant Obed McCoy had Kohli playing early, resulting in the ball ballooning to mid-off. Holder scurried back well to make ground, but failed to grab an over-the-shoulder catch.
A relieved Kohli made the opposition pay. He put on 139 runs for the third-wicket, in the company of Rayudu (73, 80b, 8x4).
Rayudu looked comfortable at the crease before he missed a slog-sweep and lost his stumps. Though Rayudu had missed out on a well-deserved century, he had done his bit. Kohli opened up at the death, helping the home team record 91 runs in the last eight overs.
Windies fights back
If India expected West Indies to surrender meekly, it had another thing coming. The side was in trouble at 78 for three, when Hetmyer and Hope got together.
The duo initially found it difficult to read left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who turned it both ways. Once the early jitters were out of the way, it was time to make full use of the bad balls.
Kuldeep was prone to sending down the odd full-toss, which was easily swatted away by Hetmyer for maximums. Overpitched deliveries and long hops from leggie Yuzvendra Chahal met the same fate.
Hetmyer, who scored a 78-ball 106 in the previous encounter, was once again at his attacking best. He generated incredible power off both the front and back foot, taking on the big hits with a free mind and a free swing of the bat.
Hope, the more cautious of the two, more than played his part in the 143-run fourth-wicket partnership. The steady flow of runs meant that the required rate never rose to alarming levels.
With every shot which reached the fence or went over, the crowd grew quieter. India heaved a sigh of relief when Hetmyer’s pull off Chahal did not connect.
At this stage, West Indies needed a manageable 101 from 18.1 overs. Hope then took over and kept the chase going, but the dismissals of Rovman Powell (18) and Holder (12) weakened the cause.
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