Virat Kohli stroked a commanding, unbeaten 111 to lead India to a series-clinching eight-wicket win over the West Indies in the fifth and final one-day international at Sabina Park on Thursday.
Responding to the home side’s modest total of 205 for nine after captain Jason Holder chose to bat first in Jamaica, the visitors’ skipper ensured there was to be no upset with the target reached in the 37th over to give India a 3-1 series triumph.
Stung by an 11-run defeat in the fourth match in Antigua, when they failed to reach an even smaller target of 190, the Indians were in no mood to let their opponents off the hook this time around.
An early strike by fast bowler Alzarri Joseph in removing Shikhar Dhawan at the start of the chase ushered in Kohli who immediately set about the bowling. He put on 79 for the second wicket with Ajinkya Rahane before the opener fell leg-before to spinner Devendra Bishoo.
It was his first score under 50 in the series. Dinesh Karthik joined his leader in the 19th over and was prepared to play the supporting role to a rampant Kohli, his 28th ODI century coming up off 108 deliveries with one six and 12 fours decorating his authoritative innings.
Karthik reached an unbeaten 50 in an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 122 just before Kohli finished the match with his second six off Roston Chase. “Today was another clinical performance for us. Winning in a chase is always a nice feeling,” said Kohli after receiving the ‘Man of the Match’ award.
“It’s always about getting the team over the line. It’s not about personal stats and personal achievements but ensuring we get to the target that’s on the scoreboard.”
Earlier, opening bowlers Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav shared seven wickets in restricting the West Indies after they were well poised at 76 for one in the 16th over.
Seeking victory to earn a share of the honours from a campaign in which they entered as huge underdogs, the home side’s only substantial contributions came from the Hope brothers, Shai and Kyle. Shai topscored with 51, his second half-century of the series, while Kyle contributed 46 at the top of the order.
All-rounders Holder and Rovman Powell got to 36 and 31 respectively but failed to capitalise on decent starts as India tightened the screws on their opponents with disciplined bowling from the two frontline seamers towards the end of the innings. -AFP