Kohli, Rohit shine again as India defeat West Indies by 6 wickets
Kochi: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma hit sparkling half-centuries as a clinical India continued their domination over West Indies by thrashing the visitors by six wickets in the opening ODI of the three-match series, here on Thursday.
Asked to bowl, spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina exploited the low and slow conditions of the Nehru Stadium wicket effectively to bundle out West Indies for a meagre 211 in 48.5 overs.
Kohli then smashed 86 off 84 balls, while Rohit made 72 off 81 balls to help India chased down the target with consummate ease in 35.2 overs and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Kohli decorated his knock with nine boundaries and two huge sixes, while Rohit`s innings was laced with eight hits to the fence and one over it.
India, however, received a jolt early on in their chase in the form of Shikhar Dhawan (5). Dhawan departed in the fourth over as he edged a back of a length delivery from Jason Holder to Johnson Charles behind the stumps with scoreboard reading 17.
But then Rohit and Kohli joined hands and shared a 133-run second wicket stand that came off just 130 deliveries to lay the foundation for an easy win.
None of the West Indies bowlers seemed to create any trouble for Kohli and Rohit as both the batsmen adopted attacking approach from the onset to take the game out of the visitor`s grasp.
Rohit brought up his 19th ODI fifty off 53 balls as India reached the 100-run mark in 15.3 overs.
Kohli was not to be left behind as he reached his half century in 58 balls with a single off Dwayne Bravo in the 24th over.
But just when it seemed the duo would take India home without any further damage, Rohit mistimed a pull to Lendl Simmons at deep midwicket off Ravi Rampaul`s bowling in the next over.
Kohli, however, was in no mood to get bogged down by the dismissal as he continued his attacking game.
With India needing just 26 runs to win, Kohli clobbered Holder over the square-leg boundary to bring up his 5000 runs in the 50-over format in just 114 innings and become the joint quickest to reach the landmark along with West Indian batting legend Viv Richards.
But Kohli perished in the very next ball in search of one too many as, looking to loft the ball straight over the bowler`s head, he mistimed a shot to Sunil Narine, who gleefully accepted the skier.
Next in, Suresh Raina`s woeful form with the bat continued as he went for a duck, handing an easy catch to Holder at point off Narine`s bowling.
Yuvraj Singh (16 not out) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12 not out) then ensured that there was no further damage as they took India home.
Earlier, Jadeja finished with three for 34, while Raina took three for 37 to rock the West Indies batting line-up. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also chipped in with two wickets giving away 42 runs.
Darren Bravo was the lone West Indian batsman to cross the 50-run mark, hitting a patient 77-ball 59, laced with four fours and two sixes.
Opting to bat, West Indies lost Chris Gayle off the very first ball of the match as the destructive batsman fell short of his ground while trying to take a risky single.
Gayle, in fact, hurt himself while he tried to dive in and had to be carried out of the ground in a stretcher.
But West Indies recovered quickly from the early loss and opener Charles joined hands with Marlon Samuels to put on a solid 65-run partnership for the second wicket.
The duo played with a lot of responsibility and picked on the loose deliveries to play their shots. Having taken a couple of overs to settle down, the West Indies batsmen chose Jaydev Unadkat for special treatment.
In Unadkat`s second over, Samuels hit a six over cover before Charles took over.
Charles repeatedly chose the aerial route during his 34-ball 42 (7X4, 1X6), which included three consecutive fours in a Bhuvaneshwar Kumar over.
But introduction of Jadeja, who had been left out of the Tests because of an injured shoulder, in the 11th over produced the desired result for the hosts on the turning pitch here.
Diving to his left, Jadeja took a one-handed blinder off his own bowling to send back Charles. A couple of overs later, Samuels was bowled out by Raina for 24 off 35 balls.
However, despite losing two set batsmen at the introduction of spin, Bravo and Simmons went on to add another crucial 65 runs for the fourth wicket, although the boundaries almost dried up.
Raina then tightened the noose by trapping Simmons leg before, striking once again to dismiss Narsingh Deonarine (4) to leave the visitors reeling at 152 for five.
Bravo though held on to his wicket to complete his half-century even as the run-rate dipped drastically. But after taking the batting powerplay, Darren hit a couple of sixes and a four to release some pressure.
But it did not last long as Mohammed Shami cut short his innings.
Jadeja then struck hard in the very next over to see off Bravo with the Windies scorecard reading 187 for seven. It was a matter of time before the visitors` innings folded in 48.5 overs.
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