The much-awaited ODI series between India and West Indies kick-started on Sunday, but the first face-off did not bring glory to the former team. Gunning down the target of 288, West Indies (291/2) recorded its third-highest successful ODI chase against India (287/8) and won by eight wickets. Team West indies won the toss and put India to bat first. India captain Virat Kohli expected the pitch to slow down in the second innings and was happy to bat first on a dry surface. But unfortunately, things did not turn out as he expected. Windies ace batsmen Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope went all guns blazing against India and attained a 1-0 series lead in the three-match ODI series.
Hetmyer and Hope – The batting stars of the match
It was quite a challenging task to muster a compelling score on a slow surface, but Windies registered their victory with some smashing performances by Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope. Windies lost Sunil Ambris early in the fifth over, but after his fall, the duo shared a decisive 218-run stand to make sure the visitors raced to victory in 47.5 overs. They showcased an aggressive batting display and dominated the India attack.
The left-handed batsman Hetmyer scored 139 runs off 106 and played one of the great innings in a chase against India. He earned his fifth ODI hundred and his second against India. Opener Shai Hope rattled the hosts with patient 102 runs off 150 balls and successfully completed his 8th hundred in ODIs. Apart from these two unbeaten batsmen, Nicholas Pooran also contributed to Windies’ memorable win with 29 runs off 23.
It seems the Indian bowlers went on a leather hunt as big-hitting Windies batsmen were unstoppable on the field. Again, India’s sloppy catching and lack of bowling efforts helped Windies seal an empathic win.
Pressure mounted on middle-order Indian batsmen
West Indies dusted off the chase with their smart bowling and the failure of India’s batting and bowling forces. India began on a slow note as Opener KL Rahul and Virat Kohli were dismissed for 6 and 4 respectively, putting pressure on the middle order batsmen. Rohit Sharma (36 off 56) and Shreyas Iyer (70 off 88) steadied the ship. Rishabh Pant, who is seen as Dhoni’s heir apparent, provided thrust in the slog overs. He stitched 114-run stand with Shreyas Iyer, hitting his 4th successive fifty-plus score (70) in ODIs. Kedar Jadhav (40 off 35) and Ravindra Jadeja (21 off 21) also contributed their share in resurrecting the innings.
The pitch did not favor the Indian spinners
Ahead of the game, everyone had been talking about the pitch at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Popularly referred to as Chepauk, the stadium pitch has historically always favoured spinners, but this time, it turned out to be a sluggish pitch for Indian spinners. It caused serious damage as the moisture kept the pitch slow. Particularly, Hetmyer frustrated the spinners with his masterclass good-length deliveries. He used the crease like a pro and began to prey on India’s uninspiring bowling attack.
The second game of the three-match ODI series will be played in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday and the game will set in motion at 1:30 PM (IST).