Chepauk: The score-line read 4-1 in favour of India, but anyone who followed the series would know stats can be misleading. Except for the 4th ODI, West Indies ensured that India did not have a walk in the park in the series and that is what transpired at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium as well. For the stats, India sealed victory by 34 runs and with it the series, 4-1.
India were propelled by a valiant yet classy maiden century by Manoj Tiwary (104) and for West Indies, the sleeping giant, Keiron Pollard (119) finally woke up from his slumber to power Windies closer to the Indian target.
As Ajinkya Rahane ran towards his teammates after completing a tough catch of Pollard, the big hitter sat down in the middle absolutely gutted. Rahane's expression exemplified how the series went for India; dominating yet a sense of relief after every game. Pollard’s reaction at the other end was of so close yet so far.
It was a dead rubber and incidentally, the entire series was dubbed so as well. But it was not to be. Stakes were high for individuals at both ends. Comeback man Irfan Pathan had a point to prove; and he did return with decent figures of 9-1-42-2 with an economy of 4.66. Kieron Pollard was running out of time to justify his place in the squad and after the insane knock of 119 off just 110 balls (4x4, 6x10) no one would bother to ask him that again. Before the series, Rohit Sharma was labeled as a wasted talent but he got his redemption taking away the man of the series award.
Manoj Tiwary after being on the fringes for too long was given a rare opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands with a maiden century to his name; a century he dedicated to the people who lost their lives in the unfortunate AMRI hospital fire in Kolkata. Parthiv Patel, who was in the squad for MS Dhoni would know that he has quashed many chances to justify his place. Darren Sammy, the captain has always been the talk rather than the Darren Sammy the all-rounder and this series was no aberration. And what to say about the stand-in captain Virender Sehwag!!!
West Indies Innings
Back to the final game of the series, the run chase seemed to be done and dusted with when Windies were reeling 75/5. A usual position for the visitors as their top order crumbled once again. Irfan Pathan and Abhimanyu Mithun had done the early damage with two wickets each. After the fifth wicket, Andre Russell 53 (47 balls, 4x5, 6x3) walked in to join Pollard. The duo then set about counter attacking the Indian spinners. For the first time in the series, spinners where on the firing line and Pollard went hammer and tongs on Jadeja.
Rahul Sharma though held his nerve and bowled well. To his credit Pollard failed to get any sixes off the rookie's bowling. Soon after Russell started to match Pollard shot to shot and Gambhir had his work cut out. The duo’s partnership of 89 balls came off just 79 balls with a run rate of 6.75. As has been the case, Winides had enjoyed certain period of the match all throughout the series and the period when these two were batting certainly belonged to the visitors. But as it is said, a game is won by a moment’s brilliance and lost by a moment’s madness. Gauti did produce that moment of brilliance went he hit the stumps from short third man to run out Andre Russell. That effectively put the handbrakes to the Windies run machine. Also, Virat Kohli’s moment of madness when he dropped Pollard on 99 could have very well led to a lose.
Between the 16th and the 30th over, Gauti tried every bowler but to no avail as like a Formula One car, the Windies tinnings was picking up to the top gear and the Indians had no answer to it. To Pollard and Russell’s credit who lack in the technique which was shown by Tiwary early on, both of them scored heavily inside the conventional V hinting that they were playing with a straight bat. In a pitch which was slow and the bounce unpredictable, going straight was the best option and they did it regularly. The only downfall for the West Indian was the failing of the top order. Umpire Sudhir Asnani though came up with two big howlers which went against the Windies.
He made his debut way back in 2008 against Australia and since then after being a part of five full fledged series and six ODIs, Manoj Tiwary got a rare opportunity and he played to his potential cracking 104 of 121 deliveries, retiring hurt due to cramps to guide India to a total of 267 against West Indies in the fifth and the final ODI at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk.
Virat Kohli continued his good form in the series with yet another half-century slamming 80 runs off just 85 deliveries. However, India would rue the chance of not getting a much more competitive total in the range of 280 to 290 after Kohli and Tiwary had setup the stage for a late flurry.
West Indies clearly bowled much better than Indore on a bowling friendly wicket but were not able to get breakthroughs at regular intervals after Kemar Roach fiery spell first up. Sunil Narine was the most economical bowler for the Windies giving away just 41 runs in 10 overs and taking the wicket of Rohit Sharma. However, it was Kemar Roach who put the Indians in a spot of bother taking two wickets in two balls. He clean bowled Parthiv Patel before trapping Rahane LBW.
That was the time when India looked the most vulnerable and from then on Tiwary, Gambhir and Kohli did not allow the bowlers to take charge. Gambhir had a bit of a shaky start but his 31 off 41 ensured that India did not have any hiccups and it also provided some breathing space for the comeback man Tiwary.
Manoj Tiwary saw himself in uncharted territories early on facing an all pumped up Roach and the seamer ruffled him up with well directed bouncer. But Tiwary shot back immediately with a confidence infusing on-drive. From there on there was no looking back as he adjusted to the conditions well, keeping his eyes open for the low bounce.
By the time Gambhir got out to Anthony Martin, Tiwary was well set on 48. If the Gambhir-Tiwary partnership was about rebuilding, the Tiwary-Kohli partnership was about taking the game away from Windies. Gambhir and Tiwary got 83 runs in 18.3 overs whereas Kohli and Tiwary coasted along en route to 117 runs with a run-rate of 6.21. Tiwary reached his maiden hundred with a leg glance but had to retire hurt due to cramps.
Kohli then took charge and with Rohit Sharma compiled 40 runs partnership before being holed out at long-on. Shrama departed shortly and Raina was not able to get enough strikes in the slog overs to throw the kitchen sink.