Eight is not the favourite number for many. That’s what the Indians needed to get in the final over, and Axar Patel was the player who could decide which way the pendulum would swing.
Kyle Mayers picked up the ball to bowl the 50th over, and his figures read 7- 0- 40-2. It was a mistake not to have used his overs, but he did bowl the first ball without conceding a run. Now it was Five balls and eight runs. Axar and Siraj exchanged singles of the next two deliveries, and they needed six of just three deliveries.
The fourth delivery of the over saw Axar belt it over Long-off, and the Indians once again shattered the Islanders. Axar had done the impossible. He had scored 64 of just 35 deliveries at a baffling strike rate of 182! India has now won the series, but both the matches were decided in their favour only in the final over.
Earlier, the West Indies opted to bat first after winning the toss. It was Shai Hope’s 100th ODI, and he was presented with a shirt which stated the same. The WI mixed aggression with caution, with Mayers being the aggressor and Hope rotating the strike.
Shikhar turned to spin, and that turned out to be a good move. Deepak Hooda removed Mayers, and the West Indies scoring rate kept sliding down from 7.4 to 5. 7 over the next few overs, just like a currency against the Dollar!
Axar accounted for Brooks, and Chahal dismissed Brandon for nought. At this point, the WI were 130 for three, with Nic Pooran walking in. Both were overcautious and could not raise the average above 6.3 at all. Pooran started his aggression and fell in the process.
Hope was nearing his hundred then, and he smacked one over long-off, Sehwag style and got to his hundred ;In the process he also entered the Elite club of players scoring a ton in their 100th outing.
WI had just a few overs left, and the Indians raised their fielding standard to confine them to 311. The Shreyas catch was the highlight. Powell struck it flat and fast, and Shreyas held it for dear life.
The Indian openers took time to settle down, and Gill played more confidently than his skipper at the other end. The run- rate was below the required one when he fell but within touching distance.
Shreyas anchored the innings, with Surya Kumar Yadav failing yet again. Sanju Samson and Shreyas guided the team well enough and sealed the hole through which the wickets were tumbling. Shreyas exited in the 33rd over, and Sanju was joined by Deepak Hooda, who is surely becoming India’s ‘Mr .Reliable’.
Fifty-six runs were required after Hooda’s exit, but the confidence of the Indians was up, as Axar was striking the ball brilliantly. Avesh Khan’s support and Siraj’s single run mattered in the end.
|West Indies batting:Total 311 /6. (50 Overs)Shai Hope -115 (135)Nic Pooran- 74 (77)||India Bowling:
S. Thakur- 3 For 54
|India Batting:Total – 312/8 (49.4 Overs)Shreyas Iyer- 63 (71)Sanju Samson- 54 (51)Axar Patel- 64 (35)Shubman Gill-43 (49)||West Indies Bowling:Alzarri Joseph – 2 For 46Kyle Mayers 2 For 48|
|Axar Patel was declared the ‘ Player of the Match”.India won by two wickets and two balls to spare.Series Position: India leads 2-0.|
The third match on the 27th of July is not a series decider. India may have won two matches, but the West Indies team that lost them is far from vanquished.