Virat Kohli proved once again his greatness in 50 overs cricket with majestic back to back hundreds to steer India to an ultimately easy 2-0 series win over West Indies. While he is by far the best batsman accross formats, he is far and away the finest player in the World in ODI cricket. His two brilliant century stands with a promising Shreyas Iyer of 125 and 120 runs in back to back games sealed the series for India 2-0, in a rain affected 3 match series with the 1st game washed out in Guyana. Kohli , after his dissappointment in the World cup semis looked in sublime touch timing his strokes beautifully all round the park against an admittedly listless bowling attack. His full range of strokes ,timing and power , brought him two glorious hundreds, 120 and 114 notout. His 42nd and 43rd ODI hundreds. Normal service has resumed.
India’s answer to their middle order worries seems to have been solved to some extent with Shreyas Iyer . After his run-a-ball 71 in the last match, Iyer was in destructive mood in the 2nd ODI slamming 65 off 41 balls with 5 sixes . However he should be sent at number 4 ahead of Pant ,who seems to be batting at least one spot higher in ODIs particularly if India has 25-30 overs left in their innings. Also Iyer needs to keep up his standards against more demanding bowling attacks against heavyweight teams but as of now he looks a perfect fit for middle order spot in ODIs. He can build and innings and also play destructive shots– a perfect recipe for ODI middleorder.
The 2nd ODI had multiple interruptions due to rain. West indies batting first scored 240 in 35 overs (curtailed midway through their innings). Chris Gayle, apparently playing his final match (later reversed his decision again) was in his vintage self after many months, smashing the Indian pace attack scoring a rapid 72 off 41 balls with 8 fours and 5 huge sixes. Evin Lewis was equally destructive with his 43 off 29 balls as Windies rattled up 100 in just 9 overs. Kohli at this stage persisted too long with his pacers, where he should have slowed down the pace by bringing on a spinner much earlier. As it happened the game totally changed when Chahal came along. Lewis known for his struggles to spin was packed off soon. Gayle went against the run of play and the spinners controlled the middle overs admirably to get India back in the game as Hope and Heytmer could not take much liberties. Later Pooran played a breezy cameo of 30 off 16 balls. Though the pacers got most of the wickets ,it was the Indian spinners who bowled with control to restrict the Windies.
In reply with 256 required in 35 overs under DL method, Shikhar Dhawan (36 off 36) played a sparkling knock after Rohit was runout. Later India lost wickets in consecutive balls with Dhawan and Pant falling but Kohli and Iyer’s magnificient century stand saw India home with the Indian captain winning the Man of the series award.
While Shreyas Iyer had been a happy inclusion for India in ODIs and earlier Saini in T20s , the West Indies continue to be listless after their first match of the World Cup 2019. The team seems to lack the intensity to take the game deep and scrap hard enough.The batters have been playing good cameos but that match winning impact innings or that solid impactful bowling spell never happened in the short series. The team , which got into some great momentum during their test and ODI series wins vs a heavyweight England at home last Feb-March seems to have slipped back into mediocrity once again and thus dissappointing their fans. There seems to be an utter lack of interest in this series which reflected in the near empty stands in Guyana, and Trinidad. West Indies cricket really needs a consistent boost from their team’s performances to be up and running again. They have been drubbled 3-0 in T20s and 2-0 in ODIs. The two test series come in next. The future is in their hands.