Vineet Sharma/Zeenews Sports
Ahmedabad: It was an absolute thriller at Motera as West Indies kept the series alive with a 16-run win over India. The visitors outplayed India and kept nerves at the right time, making the series still open 2-1 with two more games to go.
Ravi Rampaul was the man with the golden arm, claiming the last wicket of Abhimanyu Mithun and ending the night with 8.5-1-57-4. The effort of WI was one that denied any heartbreaks to them, never giving up at any point in the match.
Rohit Sharma had stood-up to the leviathan task at hand but an unfortunate turn of events saw him run-out at a score of 95 runs, just when India were at a point when his presence was needed the most.
The penultimate wicket got the WI team worked up as they finally were within striking distance of a much needed win, keeping the series alive. The game had turned into another thriller due to Rohit’s efforts and the spirited WI performance, giving the full house at Motera their money’s worth.
A partnership between Sharma and R Ashwin almost saw the home team sail home smoothly but the West Indies kept nerves this time around. They also kept the upper hand when the last partnership between Abhimanyu Mithun and Umesh Yadav threatened to turn the tide.
At the start of the death overs, the balance of the game had tilted towards the visitors at the fall of Ashwin off the last delivery of Sunil Narine’s over. This was followed by the scalp of Vinay Kumar (3) to make the scorecard read 200/8 while Rohit Sharma was running out of partners.
India lost the sixth wicket off a brilliant effort in the field as Ravindra Jadeja (11) ran out at a crucial juncture. The scorecard read a bleak 105/6 at the fall as the home team ran out of options against a spirited Windies outfit.
India had dug a deep hole for themselves with half of the team back in the pavilion with less than 100 runs on the board.
Suresh Raina (2) was the fifth man to fall, a bit unlucky with the decision of being caught behind when his was did not touch the ball. The fourth wicket fell in the form of Parthiv Patel (39). The batsman got clean bowled on a terrific delivery.
Prior to this, Virat Kohli (20) was the third man to go, giving Sunil Narine his first ODI wicket. The batsman was visibly upset at the lbw decision with the scorecard reading 43/3 (8.2 Ovs).
The fall of the wickets started with a lethal double blow by Ravi Rampaul that saw Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag out on the first delivery they faced, walking back with a duck to their names.
Sehwag once again failed with the bat in the series as the Windies looked dangerous for the first time in the tour.
West Indies Innings
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy (41* off 17 balls) went ballistic in the death overs and his partner Andre Russell (40* off 18 balls) raced the total to a solid 260/5 at the end of their innings.
The penultimate over of the first innings was the best of the lot, with Sammy churning 23 runs off Abhimanyu Mithun’s deliveries.
An unbelievable catch in the deep by Ravindra Jadeja got rid of Kieron Pollard (29) as the home team upped the ante at the death. Vinay Kumar was the claimant of the scalp, his second of the match as the scorecard read 181/5 with just over five overs left.
Just before that, Denesh Ramdin (38) was the fourth WI wicket to fall as Parthiv Patel took a brilliant catch, his third of the match off Umesh Yadav’s bowling.
Prior to this, Ravichandran Ashwin spun Marlon Samuels (58) out with a wily delivery that shook his stumps. Samuels had slammed a handy half century to steady the WI ship and forged a partnership with Darren Bravo after the top order collapse.
The duo’s fifty plus partnership gave some semblance to the batting while the Indian spinners looked to get a breakthrough. However, Bravo had a hamstring issue and had to walk off the field, retired hurt and Ramdin came in to bat.
Mithun got rid of Danza Hyatt (20) to put India in driver’s seat early-on in the third ODI. The batsman was done in by a moving delivery and wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel plucked a good catch, his second of the day.
Vinay Kumar drew first blood, claiming Lendl Simmons (1) in the third over with the scorecard reading 2/1. The dismissal was affected in the hands of Patel and the third umpire had a close look before awarding it to the home team.
West Indies openers Hyatt and Simmons had started off with an edgy strategy, hoping to keep the series alive. Pace spearheads Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav in the meanwhile, tried to get an early breakthrough.
India skipper Virender Sehwag had won the toss and elected to field first for the third consecutive time against the West Indies. The decision was not a surprise as the home team have won two games on the trot against West Indies and would have liked to keep the winning momentum.
However, the disastrous failure of the top batsmen and a horrible bowling performance at the death ended India’s longest winning streak at home with 11 ties under their caps.