India vs West Indies, 4th ODI: Rohit, Khaleel fashion 224-run rout of West Indies
Khaleel Ahmed and Rohit Sharma. (AFP Image)

If Virat Kohli doesn’t get you, Rohit Sharma will. West Indies were over the moon in the 17th over of the innings when Kemar Roach had Kohli edging to Shai Hope behind the stumps. This was a big moment. Their chief tormentor in the series was back in the dressing room for his lowest ODI score of 16 this year. But despite getting the prized wicket of the Indian captain, West Indies were not able to escape from a punishment, with Rohit and Ambati Rayudu scoring centuries that formed the base for India’s mammoth total of 377 for 5.

In reply, West Indies, who have scored two 300-plus totals and one 17 short of it, produced a contrasting batting performance, getting bundled out for 153. Top-order failure, suicidal run-outs and a brilliant spell of bowling from Khaleel Ahmed, who finished with 3 for 13, knocked the stuffing out of the visitors. Khaleel’s three-wicket burst saw West Indies lose half their side inside 50 after which spinners Kuldeep Yadav picked the pieces. The only positive for West Indies in their otherwise grim outing was Jason Holder, who continued his fine form with the bat with an unbeaten half-century.

India’s colossal 224-run win helped regain lead in the series.

With 20 on the board, they lost opener Chandrapaul Hemraj, the big wicket of Shai Hope and Kieran Powell without a run being added. Hemraj found Ambati Rayudu at cover to give Bhuvneshwar Kumar his first wicket of the day, and two balls later, a brilliant piece of work in the outfield saw a diving Hope take off but fall short of his crease. Hope took off for the single and Kuldeep Yadav picked up, threw the ball, all in one motion swiftly to produce a direct hit.

It didn’t take long before West Indies did, well, what only West Indies can – shoot themselves in the feet. Powell takes off from the non-striker’s end. After Marlon Samuels had defended the ball, there was slight hesitation between him and Rovman Powell, but by the time they realised there was no run in it, the non-striker was already half way down the wicket. Kohli picked up the ball and his aim was spot on.

Samuels and Shimron Hetmyer added 25 more before Khaleel decided to cash in on West Indies’ poor start. He took three balls to remove another thorn in India’s eyes – Hetmyer out leg-before wicket, a review not saving him. Two more in the next two saw Powell and Samuels depart, leaving West Indies’ chase in tatters at 56 for 6. Holder struck a few lusty blows, another indication that they need him to bat higher. Had he not resisted India with the last two pairs – 31 and 21 runs – West Indies were pretty much in danger of suffering their biggest loss in ODIs in terms of runs. Kuldeep took the final wicket to finish with 3 for 42.

As international cricket returned to the Brabourne Stadium after nine years, Kohli opted to bat after winning the toss. India made steady progress with Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan bringing up India’s 50 in eight overs. Dhawan once again got a start, having struck two lovely flicks for six and four exquisite boundaries. But a pull straight to the fielder at midwicket brought about his dismissal. Kohli walked out to a loud ovation but there would not be a fourth successive century.

India were in need of a partnership and that is exactly what Rohit and Rayudu provided with a 211-run stand. They dominated the middle overs scoring runs at almost a run-a-ball. Rohit was phenomenal in his backfoot play against the spinners. Between over 15 and 20, India scored only 15 runs, but Rohit made for it taking Rovman Powell for three boundaries in the 27th over. Nurse was given the same treatment.

With a crisply-timed boundary towards point Rohit brought up his 21st century. That is when he accelerated, moving from 100 to 150 in 32 balls, his seventh 150-plus score in ODIs. He also raised hopes of a fourth double ton in ODIs before edging a widish delivery from Nurse to Hemraj at short third man.

While all the focus remained on Rohit, Rayudu slowly went about his business. He didn’t get much strike but despite that managed to score at a strike-rate of over 100. With eight boundaries and four sixes, Rayudu brought up his third century off 80 deliveries. Holder and Fabian Allen were taken for 12 runs in an over and Roach was launched over his head for a six. It took a brilliant direct hit from Allen to end his knock. Even as India went past 350, Kedar Jadhav remained unbeaten on 16 off seven. India scored 116 off the final ten, 15 of which came in the 50th.

Brief Score:  India 377 for 5 (Rohit Sharma 162, Ambati Rayudu 100; Kemar Roach 2 for 74) beat West Indies 153 all out (Jason Holder 54; Khaleel Ahmed 3 for 13, Kuldeep Yadav 3 for 42) by 224 runs.