India skipper Virat Kohli continued his sublime form with a 43rd ODI hundred as India clinched the series against West Indies 2-0. Chasing 255 to win, India romped home with six wickets thanks to the captain's blazing 114 not out.
Like in the last game, Kohli was again supported by Shreyas Iyer, who smashed 65 from 41 balls with five sixes. This was after Rishabh Pant tasted yet another failure, falling for a first-ball duck. Under-pressure Shikhar Dhawan, got a start, making a run-a-ball 36, but would be disappointed not to carry on. Rohit Sharma was run out for 6.
Earlier, Chris Gayle, playing in his last game, blasted a brilliant 72 from 41 balls while Evin Lewis hit 43 from 29 balls. Thanks to the opening stand, West Indies finished on 240 in 35 overs. What looked like a stiff target though was chased down by India with ease in the 33rd over.
At the post-match presentation, Kohli said he was keen to get back to scoring hundreds after a brief period during the World Cup, where he wasn't able to convert fifties into hundreds. "Last few matches, I presented a challenge to myself," he admitted.
Kohli also was pleased with Shreyas Iyer's consistency, as he hit his second fifty in a row. "The way he batted out there, he took a lot of pressure off me. His knock was the game-changer. We want to have people take responsibility at different batting positions. But he certainly presented a strong case for himself. He completely played in full control and was putting pressure on the bowlers. Really good tempo, good really character"
Asked about his injury, Kohli clarified, "Thankfully, it's not a fracture, just a split on the nail in the front. I think I should be fine for the first Test." The skipper admitted that they were worried with West Indies' dazzling run rate when the rain break happened, but pulled things back reasonably well.
"We were a bit nervous when the rain break happened because of the fact they played so well in the first 10 overs. We felt that with DLS, the game can go out of our reach. The outfield got wet as well, we thought they could capitalise but the bowlers did a great job. We are feeling very confident. We've got a practice game which will allow the players to get into the Test rhythm," he added.
Jason Holder, the Windies captain, gave credit to India for the impressive performance. "We had to give ourselves a bit of time. I think the batters did a reasonable job. We were always in the game but credit to the Indian players. We let ourselves down in the recent past and we'll have to find ways. There's lot of work to be done. We've got to turn things around, it's matter of Test guys to put their hands up and turn the fortunes," he said.
--By A Cricket Correspondent