CHENNAI: Tons by Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope propelled West Indies to an eight-wicket win over India in the first ODI on Sunday. Chasing 288 for a win, the visitors were home with more than two overs to spare.
West Indies’ Jason Holder had said before Sunday that he saw huge potential in the likes of Hope, Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran. He believed that doing well here will give the youngsters confidence to perform consistently at the international level. True to Holder’s words, Hope and Hetmyer forged a match-winning partnership. Virat Kohli shuffled his bowlers and tried six of them but failed to get the breakthrough.
Hetmyer was at his aggressive best and particularly harsh on the spinners. He hit Ravindra Jadeja for two consecutive sixes and smashed Kuldeep Yadav’s straight into the stands. He was dropped on 106 by Shreyas Iyer at long-on off Deepak Chahar. The same fielder then took the catch to dismiss him, but by then the damage had been done.
Hope was also dropped, on 10, by Rohit Sharma in the slips off Kuldeep Yadav. He capitalised on the reprieve and played second fiddle to perfection. He and Hetmyer added 218 off 208 balls to shut the door on India.
Earlier, riding on half-centuries by Iyer and Rishabh Pant India recovered from 80 for 3 and posted a challenging total. The duo raised 114 for the fourth wicket in 113 balls. They played with maturity and understanding, waiting for the right balls to attack.
Pant’s batting was a revelation, as he was patience personified. Cutting down on flamboyance for a major part of his innings, the wicketkeeper played copybook cricket. His cover drive off Kieron Pollard had grace written all over.
“It was only a matter of time that Pant got into his grove. We all know his potential. It was just a matter of converting starts. In T20s you don’t have time to pace your innings. Today he got an opportunity to spend time in the middle and made good use of it. I would have been happier had he got a century,” noted former India player L Balaji.
There was something about the bowling of the West Indies as well. In Sheldon Cottrell, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul and Holder, there is a potent combination. Cottrell and Holder troubled Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. While coming to the terms with the pitch, Rahul was done in by the pace and bounce of Cottrell. In the same over, Cottrell castled Kohli.
Kohli was looking to open the face of the bat and drive, but the inside edge crashed on to the stumps. It can be noted that he did not practise before the match. In the first 10 overs India managed only 33 runs.