Thursday February 29, 2024

Kohli & Co look to bounce back in Mumbai

By Agencies
October 29, 2018

MUMBAI: The Windies’ win in the third One-day International has added spice to the series, making the last two games potentially engrossing contests.

If anyone expected India, seven places above the Windies in the ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings and playing at home, to dominate the five-match ODI series, it certainly hasn’t gone to plan.

India did win the first ODI comfortably, by eight wickets with 47 balls left in their chase, but the Windies fought back to tie the second game and were convincing in a 43-run win in the third.

India, such a force in the format, have been driven by Virat Kohli’s excellence with the bat, but the Windies have found their heroes, none bigger than Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope. Ashley Nurse, though, made the crucial difference from down the order in the last game, scoring quick runs and helped switch the momentum.

The two of them have been outstanding. Hope scored 32 in the first ODI, but has since hit 123* and 95, while Hetmyer has scored 106, 94 and 37. That’s 487 runs!Kohli, of course, has been on a level far above that of the others, scoring 140, 157* and 107, but at least in the last two games, it’s not been enough for India.

“We are not looking to compete anymore. We are looking to win,” said Marlon Samuels at the end of the third ODI, and that’s almost a warning to the Indians, one that they need to take very seriously.

With the exception of Kohli, India’s batting has been a bit patchy. Rohit Sharma scored 152* in the first game but has just 12 runs in the two innings since then. Ambati Rayudu’s 73 in the second game was a good effort, but that’s the only other score of 50-plus for the home side so far.

The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni will have to do more to make sure it’s not a matter of India faltering when their captain falters.The good thing from the Indian point of view is that their spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja – have done well. But, then again, Ashley Nurse, Samuels and Devendra Bishoo have been impressive for the Windies too, so there’s not much to choose from there.

And while Jasprit Bumrah marked a good comeback to the XI with a four-for in the third ODI, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach and Obed McCoy have been impressive for the Windies too.It’s all level, but the Windies look like they mean business. For India, who remain favourites despite the setback in the third game, the batsmen must provide Kohli the support he needs.