MS Dhoni scored a 114-ball 54 © AFP
MS Dhoni scored a 114-ball 54 © AFP

India managed to do what they have pulled off quite a few times: a defeat from the jaws of victory. Needing 17 to win from 16 balls with two recognised batsmen in the middle, they made a complete mess of the chase by ending up 11 runs away from the finishing line in the fourth ODI of the five-match series in Antigua on Sunday. A tortoisesque MS Dhoni, consistent Ajinkya Rahane and brilliant Jason Holder were the protagonists of this drama. There were other highlights too from this low-scoring thriller, which we bring to you in this piece. Read them below. Live cricket scorecard: India vs West Indies, 4th ODI

Pant or no Pant?: Before the game started, the big question was whether or not Rishabh Pant will make his ODI debut. After all, this series, which lacked any ‘context’, was a complete waste if he was not given a chance, critics opined. India did make three changes, bringing in Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja. Pant’s wait continued. Karthik was picked over him since he has been with the team on the road for around two months now without getting a game. Harsha Bhogle put it up nicely, saying, “India have by gone by the book in picking Dinesh Karthik ahead of Rishabh Pant. He was selected first, so plays first.”

Wasted starts: Five West Indies batsmen — their top-five to be precise — got starts, only to throw them away. Evin Lewis and Kyle Hope got 35 each, Shai Hope 25, Roston Chase 24 and Jason Mohammed 20. They all were expected to carry on and convert their starts into big scores, but their failure to do so meant West Indies’ innings ran out of steam. Sadly, they did not learn anything from Rahane, who registered his fourth consecutive fifty-plus score.

Kuldeep’s magic: Kuldeep Yadav continued to weave magic. After becoming second Indian spinner to take 3-fors in his first two ODIs, he got a wicket in his first over on Sunday when he removed Lewis. Kuldeep then cleaned up Chase with a wrong’un, for the second time in a row. He was denied of his customary 3-for when Rovman Powell successfully reviewed a decision off his bowling.

Pace, the ace up India sleeve: Shami bowled a tight spell albeit went wicket-less. However, Umesh and Pandya picked up 3 wickets apiece, making a good day in office for Indian seamers.

Boundary droughts: Indian bowlers kept things tight from the onset and were exceptional at the back end of the innings. Such was their dominance that West Indies batsmen could not score a single boundary off the last 83 balls.

When India batted, Rahane hit a four on the last ball of the 20th over. The next boundary came in the 39th over from Pandya’s willow — 111 balls later.

Ajinkya Rahane’s consistency: Rahane, who got a chance to open the innings in this series only because Rohit Sharma was rested, made the most of his opportunity yet again. He registered his fourth fifty-plus score in as many games, thus becoming only the third Indian opener to do so in a bilateral ODI series after Sachin Tendulkar in Natwest Series in England 2007 and Virender Sehwag against England in 2008.

Short-ball blues: In the last game, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli fell prey to short balls. In this ODI, Kohli and Karthik were the victims. Kohli, in particular, was undone by his West Indian counterpart with short balls for second time in a row. Some things never change, perhaps. India need to fix their short-ball issues at the earliest, or else they will have a tough time later this year when they tour to South Africa, where Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel will await them licking their lips.

Dhoni’s uncharacteristic knock: Dhoni scored 54 off 114, his slowest ODI innings, with his fifty coming off 108 balls. He fell on the last ball of the penultimate over. India lost. How many times has it happened that he failed to finish things off? His run-a-ball 78 won India the last ODI, but this time around, he was at fault for not finishing it off. This was also the slowest fifty for India in fifteen years, beating previous record set by Sourav Ganguly (105-balls) against Sri Lanka in 2000.

Jadeja’s brainfade: When the match could have easily been won by singles, Jadeja went for a slog at the long on, only to find a fielder there. His irresponsible approach with the bat cost India a game, yet again.

Aaaand Holder’s charisma: He picked up 5 wickets, led his side brilliantly on the field, and, barring that over from Chase, which cost West Indies 16 runs in the dying stages, took brilliant decisions on the field. He was fantastic with the field placements and bowling changes too. And not to forget, he scored those 11 runs as well, the margin of West Indies’ win.