India vs West Indies: Kohli, Rahul set up six wicket win

Virat Kohli's unbeaten career-best 50-ball-94 combined with KL Rahul's 62 powered India to a comprehensive six wicket win over the West Indies in Hyderabad.

Virat Kohli led the run chase with an unbeaten 94.   -  AP

It is fun to watch Virat Kohli on days like these. He and Kesrick Williams had had some sort of running argument during the run-chase; the two nearly collided, stared at each other, and exchanged words between overs.

The outcome of all that was Kohli seemed furiously determined to make a point; and he did so, loud and clear. India's captain hammered an unbeaten, career-best 50-ball-94 (6x4, 6x6) as his side defeated the West Indies by six wickets in the first T20I at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Friday.

Chasing 208 for victory, India strolled home with eight balls to spare. Kohli applied the finishing touches, unfurling two exquisite sixes over the offside boundary off Williams before pointing to the back of his shirt and exulting. The foundation for the win was laid by K.L. Rahul and Kohli, who added 100 (62b) for the second wicket after Rohit Sharma had departed early.

As it happened| Virat Kohli 94 takes India 1-0 up in Hyderabad

Rahul (62, 40b, 5x4, 4x6), who ought to be India's first choice to partner Rohit in this format, looked in great touch. The Karnataka man slashed the ball repeatedly through the point boundary, while also striking some towering sixes, the highlight a hit off Khary Pierre that sailed 101m into the stands over cow-corner.

When Rahul fell, caught by Kieron Pollard at long-off, India needed 78 off 39 balls. It was then that Kohli, who had been simmering all along, exploded. When Williams came on to deliver the 16th over, he drove him back over his head for four and whipped him over the leg-side boundary for six before performing a ‘notebook’ celebration — apparently his retort to a send-off from the same bowler two years ago in Jamaica.

That over yielded 23 runs; the tide of the contest had turned. Kohli, who had scored only 20 runs off his first 20 balls, blitzed 74 off his last 30. Williams had picked the wrong man.

Pollard, Hetmyer run amok

 

Earlier, India put the West Indies in after winning the toss, with Kohli wary of the onset of dew later in the evening. However, the home team's cause was not helped by some ordinary bowling. At least five catches were missed too, although there was perhaps an issue with spotting the ball under these lights.

Deepak Chahar struck in his first over, excising Lendl Simmons with a beautiful out-swinger. But Evin Lewis and Brandon King added 51 runs for the second wicket, in only 26 balls. Chahar and Washington Sundar were both guilty of serving up some short stuff early on, and Lewis was only too happy to tee off, putting both bowlers into the stands beyond square leg.

Washington trapped Lewis leg-before for 40 (17b) but the opener had done his bit, with West Indies 66/2 at the end of the Powerplay. The exit of Brandon King, stumped off Ravindra Jadeja, united Shimron Hetmyer and Kieron Pollard at the crease.

The pair punished India's sloppiness in the field, making the most of dropped catches to stitch together a rapid stand of 71 (7 overs). Anything Chahal tossed up was put into the second tier. Shivam Dube went for 13 in his first over and was not brought back, Kohli perhaps alarmed by the relish with which Pollard had tucked into him.

Chahar was expensive too, finishing with 1/56 from his four overs. Chahal dismissed both batsmen in the 18th over, but West Indies still amassed more than 200. It would prove inadequate.

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