In a high-scoring thriller at Visakhapatnam, West Indies and India played out a tie, with the former nearly gunning down their highest successful run chase in ODIs. Set 322 to win after another Virat Kohli-special, the visitors’ charge was once again led by Shimron Hetmyer, but this time aided by Shai Hope, who scored a magnificent hundred. From a position of strength, Windies threw away their advantage but clawed back in the final ball with a boundary to tie the game. Here we rate the players on a scale of 1-10 based on their performance in the match.
Racing to the fastest 10,000 runs ever made in ODI cricket, skipper Kohli's sensational run in 2018 resumed at Vizag, a ground where he has scored more than 65 every time he has come out to bat. The No 3 batsman racked up his 37th ODI hundred but wasn't prepared to leave the crease as he converted it to 157, taking India to 321, a total that seemed unlikely after the top two fell within the first 10 overs.
Hetmyer's ODI career has kicked off on a terrific note as the southpaw once again made an impact in the middle-order, smashing a 64-ball 94 in the company of Hope to lift the Windies in a tough run-chase. Walking in at 78/3, Hetmyer got stuck into the Indian spinners and hit maximums for fun to put the pressure back onto the Indians. The 143-run partnership did not just pull West Indies back into the game but also put them in the driver's seat.
India's eternal search for the perfect No 4 batsman has possibly come to an end with Ambati Rayudu publically announced as the man for the job by Kohli. Backing up his skipper's claims, Rayudu did the rebuilding work at Vizag alongside the man himself. In a 139-run partnership, Rayudu went from a sluggish start to a brilliant finish as he increased the tempo during the course of the innings. Unfortunately, he couldn't convert it into a hundred but India would be hoping he does that at some point in this series.
Often criticised for his strike rate in ODIs, Hope seemed determined to counter it as he got off to a flier in the company of Hetmyer. He raced into the 30s at nearly run-a-ball, which is uncommon for him, and converted the start to something substantial. In his second ODI ton, Hope showed he can be the anchor for West Indies at No 3 during the World Cup, but he might want to keep those dot balls at bay, for it played a role in Windies missing out on a win from a good position.
Returning to the starting XI, Kuldeep did what he is best known for. Mixing his variations, the chinaman spinner picked up three wickets in a 10-over spell that kept India in the game. All of his wickets came off googlies as West Indies batsmen found it tough to read him off the hand. He dismissed Chanderpaul Hemraj, Marlon Samuels and Rovman Powell to dent West Indies’ ambitious chase.
With the surface aiding spin to an extent, Ashley Nurse, who was smashed around mercilessly in the first ODI, found his mojo. He removed Shikhar Dhawan after the opener had got a decent start and went on to break the massive stand between Kohli and Rayudu to pull West Indies back into the game. His 10 overs cost just 46 and slowed down India’s rapid scoring rate.
In a high-scoring match, Ravindra Jadeja came off looking pretty good as he restricted the scoring rate and kept the Windies batsmen on a leash. Even if his lack of wickets is a slight concern, in a holding role there are few better spinners in the country and that alone could give Jadeja's hopes of making it to the World Cup a major boost.
The leg-spinner played his part in restricting Windies’ scoring rate in the final few overs, conceding just 17 in his final three overs. The last of these three overs went for just two runs, with Windies suffering another blow through skipper Jason Holder's run-out, and left 20 runs for the seamers to defend in the final two overs.
Bishoo has had a disastrous Indian tour with his lack of wickets in the Test series and ODIs so far, creating a major headache for the Windies. The leg-spinner was once again off radar in terms of wickets at Vizag but pulled back the scoring rate in a wicketless 10-over spell. That said, being an attacking wrist spinner, West Indies need him to create breakthroughs in the middle overs.
On his ODI debut, Obed McCoy wasn't scared to unleash a few variations and troubled all of India's batsmen with his slower balls. He nearly had Kohli dismissed, but Holder put down a regulation chance to deny him a maiden wicket. McCoy made amends by cleaning up MS Dhoni for his first ODI wicket, but conceded 34 in two out of his four overs in the death. It was a fairly promising debut for the youngster despite what his figures suggest in the scoreboard.
Shami made a decent comeback to One-Day Internationals at Guwahati and continued to impress at Vizag in the second ODI as he sent back Kieron Powell early in the Windies’ innings. His first five overs cost just 26 and he finished his quota of overs conceding 59, which in the context of the game was pretty good. The icing on the cake was a decent penultimate over that cost the Indians just six runs, and gave Umesh Yadav plenty to defend in the final over.
Leading the Windies pace attack, Roach came a cropper in the death overs as Kohli went on the rampage. His final two overs cost 31 as Kohli took full toll of his listless full length bowling. Roach started off the innings on a better note by getting rid of Rohit Sharma for 4 in the fourth over but failed to find his rhythm ever since. He might want to take responsibility and put on an improved show in the remainder of the series.
The young opener made an impression in a short cameo at Vizag with an ability to bat care-free in the powerplay overs. He found boundaries at regular intervals — six of them in 24 balls — but threw it away just as he was starting to cement down his spot at the top. Hemraj was undone by Kuldeep's wrong 'un but would hope to take confidence from this promising knock to make a name in the remaining games in the series.
After missing out on the carnage at Guwahati, Dhawan was off to a good start at Vizag even as his partner, Rohit, fell early in the innings. The Delhi opener slammed four fours and a six in an enterprising run-a-ball 29 but fell to Nurse as he missed an arm ball that drifted in from around the wicket.
Contrary to his habit of hogging strike and starting off his innings on a slow note, Dhoni began with a bang as he raced to 16 at run-a-ball, including an early tonk over the fence off Samuels. With criticism on his strike rate rising, Dhoni had a promising start to dispel the notions, but fell before he could make a bigger impact in the death overs.
With the middle-order denied of enough chances courtesy a dominating top three, the new guys in the middle-order had to ensure they grab whatever chances came their way. Rayudu made it count with a timely 73 but Rishabh Pant, who is highly touted to take over from Dhoni after the World Cup, faltered as he got off to a quick start only to throw it away to a hurried sweep off Samuels.
Samuels began his innings with a boundary off Kuldeep and added a couple more off the same bowler, latching on to his fuller lengths. With Dhoni instructing Kuldeep to bowl shorter to Samuels, the chinaman spinner changed his length and the Windies batsman was promptly cleaned up off a googly. With the ball, the part-time off-spinner picked up the scalp of Pant in five overs that went for 36. Being the senior pro in the line-up, Windies will want Samuels to guide the audacious stroke-makers in the middle-order.
Attacking upfront has worked wonders for Powell in this series and it showed in his half-centuries in the second innings at Rajkot and the first ODI at Guwahati. He began in similar fashion at Vizag, scoring his 18 in fairly quick time, but fell to Shami while attempting to pull him over the ropes. Windies need Powell to convert these starts into bigger scores to help a flourishing middle-order.
Known for his big-hitting skills, West Indies were banking on Powell at No 6 to aid Hope in acing down the target set. The Kolkata Knight Riders player seemed to struggle a touch against the wrist spinners and even though he just about managed to clear the fence off Chahal, it was evident that he wasn't reading the two well enough. He eventually gifted a catch to the slip fielder off Kuldeep's googly.
In another disappointing performance, Umesh leaked far too many runs upfront and then bowled a poor final over to undo the efforts of Shami and Chahal before him. His first four overs leaked 34 while his last over, which included a full toss down the leg-side, cost India the game from a winning position.
Rohit had a rare failure at Vizag as he went after Roach's short and wide delivery without keeping the ball down. A straightforward catch for backward point gave the Windies an early hold in the game but it shouldn't worry the Mumbaikar, whose ODI numbers are on the ascendancy year after year. He will, however, rue the fact that he missed out on another opportunity to combine with the captain in a captivating partnership.
The Windies skipper was thrashed around at Vizag with Dhawan starting off with a bang against him, slamming four boundaries in the first five overs. Holder never really recovered from the early onslaught and leaked 50 in six overs. Expected to don a holding role with the ball, Holder has disappointed in the two games in the series so far. With the bat, he was partially responsible for Windies missing out on a chance to win the match with his 23-ball 12.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor
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