1st ODI: India v/s West Indies
At one point this week, there was 38 hours of non-stop cricket to be watched. South Africa are chastening Pakistan, Sri Lanka yawning with New Zealand, and most importantly, the return Ashes have already begun at the Gabba- and wonder of wonders, Australia are nailing England without mercy. Add to that the run-of-the-mill ODI series between India and West Indies, and boy, is it a good time to be a cricket fan.
After one of the highest-scoring most brutal displays of relentless batting in an ODI series (India v/s Australia 3-2), India must have been licking its dominant lips after playing exactly 6 days of home test cricket with the scoreline reading 2-0 against a hapless toothless T20-drunk West Indian side.
Many expected the Windies to be a more formidable opposition in ODIs, given their valuable experience and invaluable contributions to IPL cricket. There is always a West Indian behind every IPL winning side- it was Dwayne Smith and Pollard- both currently not playing the series. Add to that Gayle’s hamstring injury and a few feared that most of their bowlers would retire after being exposed to India’s in-form batting attack.
Things went according to plan for India, as expected.
Despite having players like Narine, Rampaul, Gayle, both the Bravos, Samuels and Sammy- they folded for 212 inside their 50 overs. On an Indian pitch. Against India.
The match was effectively over, given that India chased down 350 twice against the Aussies. It was that man Jadeja (49 wickets for 2013, 1 ahead of Ajmal) and Raina who chipped in with 3 wickets too. Maybe Raina is trying to go the Jadeja way, given that his batting form his going South every series. Whatever the case, we don’t need another all-rounder, but Raina insisted on being molded into a bowling all rounder even falling for a golden duck to drive the idea home. 6 wickets between the two CSK players meant that Darren Bravo and Johnson Charles couldn’t capitalize on starts.
It was the same old story. Only this time, Dhawan went early- leaving the stage to two of Team India’s most destructive and reliable batters. Rohit Sharma continued from where he left off, he had 4 centuries in his last 6 international innings (including a 200), and Kohli of course didn’t need to be in form anymore. India were chasing, and we all know how India chases when Kohli comes in to bat. Already one of the greatest finishers in ODI cricket with 12 tons in chases, Kohli came close to another- not that it was desperately needed this time. Rush of blood for both Sharma and Kohli meant that they didn’t reach their centuries.
Rest assured they won’t let that happen again. Eventually, it was an easy 6 wicket win for a team that needs to go overseas to test their true strength.