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2nd ODI: West Indies beat India by 6 wickets at Bridgetown, Barbados: Series level 1-1

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A disciplined bowling effort led by three-fers from Romario Shepherd and Gudakesh Motie, backed by some excellent catching, and a patient Shai Hope half-century helped West Indies draw level in the three-match ODI series with a convincing six-wicket win in rainy Barbados on Saturday (July 29). This was West Indies first ODI win against India in last ten attempts.

Inserting India in, who had rested Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, the hosts made a stunning comeback with the ball to roll them out for 181 inside 41 despite a solid 90-run opening stand driven by Ishan Kishan’s second successive half-century of the series. On a slow surface that offered both turn and extra bounce, West Indies overhauled the sub-par target with more than 13 overs to spare, on the back of a steady 91* stand between Hope (63*) and Keacy Carty (48*) and a contrasting opening partnership worth 53.

Kyle Mayers was off the blocks quickly, driving and flicking India’s new-ball pair of Hardik Pandya and Mukesh Kumar. He even dispatched the Indian stand-in captain into the stands before Brandon King joined in, going past 1000 ODI runs with consecutive boundaries off Umran Malik. Mayers then welcomed Shardul Thakur into the attack with a stylish flick for six over fine leg to bring up the fifty partnership on the first ball of the ninth over, but fell attempting a repeat of the same one ball later. In the same over, Thakur trapped King LBW to reduce West Indies to 54/2.

Hope’s brisk start – including a six to get off the mark – was the only reason West Indies had managed to move on a quickly but Thakur struck again. A well-directed bouncer took Alick Athanaze completely by surprise, and Kishan had plenty of time to settle under the top-edge.

The captain however ensured West Indies didn’t waste a perfect start like the tourists. Even though he lost Shimron Hetmyer to a Kuldeep Yadav googly soon after, Hope kept the scoreboard ticking just enough to keep them ahead of the DLS par score given the overcast conditions. And once Carty got his eye in, the pair did well to rotate strike effectively and inch closer to the target.

Hope brought up his fifty in 70 balls, also taking his team past the 150-run mark in the process. Despite not exactly dealing in boundaries until the very end, the pair took control of the chase and made sure West Indies scaled the target comfortably, with no further hiccups.

India had decided for more experimentation ahead of the home World Cup, but it didn’t really click barring the efforts of the new-look opening pair. The humid, overcast conditions from the onset offered early swing and Kishan took his time settling in. Shubman Gill (34) meanwhile kept the scoreboard ticking early on, displaying his full range of shots to collect some early boundaries.

The southpaw survived a couple of close calls in early 20s, but went on to outrace Gill to a 51-ball half-century – his second in as many games. However, just as the pair inched closer to the century stand, Motie broke through for the hosts. Gill, in his attempt to take on the spinner, danced down the track to loft a flighted delivery and holed out to the tall Joseph in the deep, triggering a dramatic collapse of 5 for 23 that India never really recovered from.

Kishan became the first of Shepherd’s twin strikes, re-attempting the cut that had fetched him a four earlier in the over – only this time for Alick Athanaze to pouch a stunning take at backward point. Axar Patel, who got a batting promotion at no. 4, was in and out in a jiffy – gloving a short ball to the keeper.

Pandya and Sanju Samson managed to stall West Indies’ march but not for long as Jayden Seales returned to send Pandya packing cheaply off another short one. On the very next ball, Yannic Cariah got Samson outside-edging to the ‘keeper, leaving India reeling at 113/5 as rain arrived to halt the proceedings for the next 45 minutes.

That, however, failed to rob West Indies of the momentum as the wicket procession continued on the other side. Shepherd struck with yet another bouncer, and this time Jadeja top-edged his pull to give a comfortable catch to the right of deep backward square. Three balls later, Athanaze took another sharp catch at backward point to end Suryakumar’s cameo after a run-a-ball 24.

Thakur’s fight took India past the 150-run mark but his stay was short-lived. Joseph struck twice in three balls – separated by a 15-rain break – to open his account late in the day, and Motie wrapped up the proceedings with one ball to spare in the 41st over. Incidentally, this was the 29th time India had been bowled out for under 200 by West Indies – the most by an opponent, surpassing 28 by Pakistan.

Brief scores: India 181 all out in 40.5 overs (Ishan Kishan 55; Romario Shepherd 3-37, Gudakesh Motie 3-36) lost to West Indies 182/4 in 36.4 overs (Shai Hope 63*, Keacy Carty 48*; Shardul Thakur 3-42) by 6 wickets

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