Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma carried India to a comfortable six-wicket victory over the West Indies in the Star Plus Trophy One-Day International series opener at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Thursday. Rohit and Kohli are currently on a magical journey, a journey of records. Just a few weeks ago, Kohli slammed the fastest ODI century by an Indian and Rohit joined the elite few to have hit a double hundred.
But on a wicket with variable bounce and the ball frequently staying low, the two played sensibly in a 133-run second-wicket stand that paved the way for India’s victory. Earlier, spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina had laid the foundation with three wickets each.
Fastest to 5000
Along the way, Kohli equalled Viv Richards’ record for the fastest to reach the 5000-run mark in ODIs, achieving it in 114 innings.
“When we fielded, I sorted out my game plan. I just wanted to play it straight and late. It gave me confidence and I started timing the ball well,” said Kohli.
While the Indian spinners were on a high, Sunil Narine, who is said to have many tricks up his sleeve, did not pull out any of them. The off-spinnerdid not bowl the ones that turn the other way.
Jadeja and Raina, on the other hand, made life comfortable for the home side by restricting the West Indies to just 211.
Gayle’s big fall
The West Indies won what was supposed to be a very crucial toss, but the joy was short-lived when Chris Gayle, its one-man demolition army, made a shocking exit off just the second ball of the match.
He dabbed at one from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and took off for a single. But an alert Bhuvneshwar caught him short of the crease with a direct hit. Gayle, in the process, lost his balance and fell heavily to the ground, appearing to have injured himself. He was stretchered off a while later.
Marlon Samuels took control of proceedings. He clobbered left-arm medium-pacer Jayadev Unadkat for a six over point, and Johnson Charles, quick to the cue, struck another six, over long-on, in the same over. A little later, Charles smashed Bhuvneshwar for three boundaries.
The introduction of spin, however, in the 11th over, turned the innings on its head. Jadeja lured dangerman Charles into a big shot, and snapped him up with a diving return catch off just his fourth delivery. Charles and Samuels had added 65 for the second wicket.
There was another 65-run association between Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons for the fourth wicket.
The former was most active, scoring the only half-century of the innings (59, 77b).
Mohammed Shami gave the host another big break with a quicker delivery that shot through Bravo’s defences. That sparked a collapse and the next four West Indies wickets fell for the addition of just 28.
West Indies: 211 all out in 48.5 overs
India: 212 for four in 35.2 overs (Virat Kohli 86, Rohit Sharma 72; Jason Holer 2/48).