Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur emerged the unlikely heroes of India's successful chase in the third and final ODI against West Indies at Cuttack on Sunday, helping the 'Men in Blue' post a four-wicket win to seal the series 2-1.
Thakur walked out to bat after Virat Kohli chopped on to his stumps in the 47th over to depart 15 short of a century, leaving India needing another 30 to win from 29 balls with all the hopes pinned on Jadeja and the rest of the tail.
The pair however, batted admirably with Thakur smashing a six and a four off an under-pressure Sheldon Cottrell in the 48th over — which cost the Windies 15 runs and brought the equation down to single digits for the hosts. The seventh-wicket pair then eventually got the hosts home with seven balls to spare.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma (63) and KL Rahul (77) forged a solid opening partnership worth 122 runs to give India an ideal start after fireworks from Nicholas Pooran (89) and skipper Kieron Pollard (74 not out) helped West Indies post 315/5 on the board. However, India stuttered in the middle overs by losing Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Kedar Jadhav cheaply, increasing the pressure on Kohli.
The Indian captain however, found able support from Jadeja — a handy batsman himself — and was able to put the pressure back on the visiting team in the final powerplay.
The victory, naturally, led to some interesting reactions from the Indian Twitterati. Here's a select list of such posts:
Not the first time the Jadeja- Thakur pair found themselves at the centre in a crunch situation this year
— Rohit Sankar (@imRohit_SN) December 22, 2019
An absolute champion
The finisher India never knew they had
Shardul Thakur, the finisher India never knew they had.
Look at Virat Kohli, the guy has 5k runs in chases yet he is celebrating with double gusto and energy.
— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) December 22, 2019
Iyer has some competition at the much-debated spot!
Maybe Shardul Thakur is the no.4 that never was — Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee) December 22, 2019
Bit of an anti-climax to what was a fitting conclusion to an exciting series
No ball given by third umpire. What a way to finish the last ODI of the decade 😂 #INDvWI
— Shubh AggarWall (@shubh_chintak) December 22, 2019
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