India beat West Indies by 59 runs (D/L method) to clinch the second one-day international against West Indies at Port of Spain on Monday. Virat Kohli struck his 42nd ODI hundred, which while sensational will ironically only make people wonder why he doesn't get the big runs in World Cup knockouts.
Kohli's hundred and his century partnership with Shreyas Iyer, who came up with the third fifty of his career, set West Indies a target of 280. However, the target was revised to 270 in 46 overs following a rain interruption. The bowlers maintained a tight leash on the hosts, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar in particular shining with 4 for 31, as India took a 1-0 lead.
After India won the toss and elected to bat first, Shikhar Dhawan yet again registered a failure. This time, Rohit Sharma also fell cheaply not able to get any sort of momentum in the innings. It was Kohli who brought India right back on track with 120 off 125 balls, an innings which featured 14 fours and one six.
Comeback man Shreyas Iyer grabbed his opportunity well with a fluent 71 from 68 balls. His 125-run partnership with captain Kohli put India on course for a big total. However, the lower order yet again faltered, managing only 67 runs in the last four overs, as West Indies fought back strongly.
West Indies innings, in reply, never got into any real momentum, with Chris Gayle and Shai Hope falling cheaply. Evin Lewis stood out with 65 from 80 balls and Nicholas Pooran's 42 raised some hopes. However West Indies crumbled from 179 for 4 to 182 for 8, which completely killed off their chase. They were eventually bundled out for 210.
Post the match Kohli, who was the man of the match, said, "Good outing with the bat. Exactly why we wanted to bat first. If you saw the later half of the West Indies innings, it was difficult to bat on. I think the rain in between helped them else it would have been tough to bat in the middle overs.
"We knew that anything over 270 would be challenging. Feels good to get a hundred when the team wanted me to get one. Shikhar and Rohit didn’t get a big one. One of the top three has always got the big one. A senior man had to step up and today was my opportunity to step up."
Post the defeat, West Indies skipper Jason Holder blamed the batsmen for not taking responsibility. "Extremely disappointing. We bowled really well and the game was in our hands. We lost crucial wickets at the back end to lose the game.
"We need to take responsibility. We need to take the game deep. The pitch was pretty good but the bowlers despite the humid conditions did well. The batters have to take the responsibility. They have been letting us down far too often."
--By A Cricket Correspondent