The three-match ODI series that started with a cracker from the visiting West Indies team, soon victory found its way to the ever-so-dominating Indian team. While India sealed a 2-1 win, we, at SportsCafe, have designed for you a two-fold three-course meal with a who cooked who menu.
West Indies middle-order
Not all recipes are defined by one main ingredient. Sometimes as many as four factors that are combined into one attractive concoction. Even though Kieron Pollard’s West Indies ended up on the losing side, that one section of their side combination was a winner to many. The Windies middle-order did have a one-off day, in Vizag during the 2nd ODI, but that was it. In the opening ODI, where they beat India by eight wickets, it was Shimron Hetmyer ruling the show with an impeccable 106-ball 139. Even in the decider in Cuttack, where India emerged victorious, Nicholas Pooran(89 off 64) and Pollard(74 off 51) fired up to put Windies on the other side of the 300 fence. It was a shame that the top order’s slow scoring rate ruined the visitors’ case.
It’s never too late to come back home, they say. The saying was reflected in the Indian crowd’s behaviour across the series as the negatives seemed to be dormant in the recently-concluded contest. Even though India kept playing series after series at home, some players didn’t feel the warmth. Ask Rishabh Pant. The 22-year-old was criticised, booed and what not by the crowd in the preceding series. But the first ODI in Chennai came as a breath of fresh air, with the crowd doing away with the same old MS Dhoni chants as they took to cheering for the youngster. A similar air was felt during the decider in Cuttack wherein the fans lit up the stadium with passion and excitement throughout every second of the proceedings of the game. It’s fair to say that with time, the Indian crowd has surely matured. That’s what happens when you enjoy the meal that is served at the table.
Kohli’s batting depth strategy
Say what you want about Virat Kohli’s captaincy, but the stern man has some great ideas that he most sternly sticks too. And they do work. One might say he’s not as able a captain as Rohit Sharma, for his IPL trophies, or, in fact, that Kohli is not as great a captain as he is a batsman. But the greatness of the team has to owe something to Kohli’s strategies, one of which was seen throughout the three-match series. What was seen as a redundant move by the Men in Blue as far as the Chennai game is concerned, turned out to be a series winner for the hosts. The additions of Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja to form a significant batting depth held key to India’s spoils. Like dessert adds a sweet touch to a full course meal, so did India’s lower order to the batting.
Sometimes reputation comes in the way of talent like we’ve seen in the case of Hardik Pandya or Ravindra Jadeja. The ‘bits and pieces’ tag, you know. But flip the scenario and outcome is what is exactly with Evin Lewis. Two daddy hundreds in T20Is, both against India, and sometimes a saviour for otherwise dead batting order, Lewis has earned his reputation of being a hard hitter, while also consolidating the innings for the Windies. In the two ODIs that Lewis played, after coming back from an injury, in this series though spoke otherwise. He only managed 30 off 35 while chasing 388 in Vizag, and his 50-ball 21 in Cuttack turned out to be one of the major factors that put Windies on the losing side. Lewis’ much-celebrated image has now faced a hit and that’s probably like a vegan dish served alongside literally anything else.
India have many reasons to celebrate but Kedhar Jadhav is not one of them. I mean if you’re batting at No.6 for India and not doing anything close to what an all-rounder would, then you’re looking at a Kedar Jadhav. While his 35-ball 40 in the first ODI, which India lost, didn’t look as unproductive, he followed it up with a 16 and 9 runs. That is still okay. But when we look at his role as a bowler, it shows us how Jadhav is just redundant in an otherwise great side. To prove my point, in the only over that he bowled in the entire series, Jadhav conceded 11 runs and his captain never gave him the ball again. He’s that dish on the table that’s completely overlooked and yet one enjoys the rest of the meal as it is.
He’s nothing like what his name suggests, I’ll tell you why. He got dismissed for a mere 4 runs while West Indies were chasing a target of 388 in the 2nd ODI. Ahead of the series though, Roston Chase’s ambitions on an all-time high. After all, West Indies had a promising ODI series against Afghanistan in India itself. Playing on the same territory against India, the Afghanistan battle must have been like a warm-up for West Indies. And all through that, Chase was the all-rounder that sailed the visitors through. However, against India, all those ambitions turned futile, as he batted and bowled unproductively. He was everything in the series that Jadhav was to India, only that Jadhav didn’t cost the series for India.
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