You are currently viewing 1000th ODI: Rohit wins toss, match, top scores as India thump Windies

1000th ODI: Rohit wins toss, match, top scores as India thump Windies

With the next 50-over World Cup more than 18 months away, every One-Day International is an attempt by two teams to get missing pieces of the jigsaw in place.

Sunday in Ahmedabad saw a contest between a team that had lost its last four matches across formats and another coming off a bilateral series defeat to Ireland. There were a lot of questions about the sides’ approach and efficiency in ODIs. It would be premature to suggest that India has found any answers, but their superior bench strength and the ineptitude of the West Indian batting resulted in a six-wicket win for the hosts with 22 overs to spare.

The likes of Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis are not part of the ODI series, but still the display put up by their batsmen was shoddy, to put it mildly. That their best batsman was an all-rounder coming in when half the side was back in the pavilion with just 71 on the board puts the performance of the top order in perspective. Jason Holder was the only reason that West Indies avoided the ignominy of a double-digit score. As it turned out, a total of 176 with more than six overs left unused was never going to challenge India in its 1,000th ODI, Rohit Sharma’s first as full-time skipper in white-ball cricket.

When India replied, it made the difference in class obvious. Sharma was making a comeback after missing the South Africa tour due to a hamstring injury, but seemed to toy with the Caribbean attack. Gone are the days when West Indian speedsters put fear into the hearts of batsmen. Kemar Roach has had a long career, but was shown scant respect by the Indian captain. He would step out to lift him over mid-off and chip him over mid-wicket nonchalantly. And when Roach or Alzarri Joseph went shorter in length, they didn’t have the pace or bounce to trouble Sharma or his new opening partner Ishan Kishan.

The left-hander was pitchforked into the opening slot after Shikhar Dhawan tested Covid positive and Mayank Agarwal, added to the squad at the 11th hour, had to undergo quarantine. But Kishan slipped effortlessly in the slipstream as Sharma (60 off 51 balls) made a mockery of the asking rate.
Virat Kohli had a rare brief stint at the crease, caught in the deep on the hook, but even though India lost four wickets for 32 runs, an asking rate of less than two allowed Suryakumar Yadav and debutant Deepak Hooda to play without pressure and take the team home.

For the West Indies, Joseph got Sharma and Kohli in the same over, while left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein showed some promise.

Damage already done

But the outcome was decided in the first innings.

It is hard to judge what type of bowling is tougher for the current generation of batsmen coming out of the Caribbean. Seemingly seduced by the 20-over format, they hardly show the prowess needed to build an innings in longer format. Shai Hope is their big batting hope, but was castled by Mohammed Siraj while trying to drive away from the body.

Darren Bravo is a veteran, but was rushed by rookie Prasidh Krishna’s bouncer, not a badge of honor for a No.3 batsman. Brandon King, Shamarh Brooks and Nicholas Pooran were done in spin. Captain Kieron Pollard should know better than to go for an expansive drive off his first ball when his team was already four-down. It turned out to be Yuzvendra Chahal’s googly which went through the wide-open gate to hit off-stump.

India didn’t have Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami on the park, but the bowling attack at Sharma’s disposal was more than enough for the outclassed West Indies.

The pitch was offering purchase for spinners, and Chahal (4/49) put it to good use, though he was not challenged too much by the West Indian batsman, apart from Holder, who seemed worthy of a promotion in the batting order.

Washington Sundar (3/30) is not an off-spinner known for getting a lot of turn, but he too was finding deviation off the Motera pitch. His two wickets in one over put the skids under the West Indies and they never recovered. Holder and Fabian Allen (29) added 78 for the eighth wicket from 79/7, but it was only an effort in avoiding complete embarrassment and an even earlier finish.

Another interesting facet of the game was Sharma’s prowess with the Decision Review System. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was considered astute about when to use the challenges, and on Sunday, Sharma got all three reviews right as fielding captain – two on LBW decisions and one on a caught-behind appeal.

Ironically, Sharma himself failed to get a reprieve after being adjudged LBW, even if only on ‘umpire’s call.’

Looking ahead to the rest of the series, there seems to be a gulf between the teams. India would like to seal the series on Wednesday, but will nevertheless have one eye on trying to find the right men for the right jobs going into the 50-over showpiece next year – especially the middle order and the composition of their bowling attack.

Leave a Reply