Guwahati ODI: Rohit, Kohli architect India’s 8-wicket win

Guwahati (Assam): Indian skipper Virat Kohli and hitman Rohit Sharma stitched a huge 246-run stand to guide their side to a comfortable eight-wicket win over West Indies in the first ODI of the five-match series at the Barsapara Stadium in Guwahati, Assam, on Sunday.

As Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma took the centre stage to chase down 323, West Indies were upbeat, since it was their fifth-highest total against the Indians.

A flare of victory could be seen when the debutant Oshane Thomas struck in his first over, giving the Caribbean side their first breakthrough. Dhawan went back to the pavilion cheaply for four runs as his stumps were rattled by the youngster.

However, captain Kohli in the company of Rohit flattened the West Indies’ attack putting on a humongous 246-run stand for the second wicket. In the process, Kohli reached his 36th ODI century in 204 innings. It took the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar 311 innings to reach 36 ODI hundreds.

Unfortunately, Kohli misjudged a delivery from Devendra Bishoo and wicketkeeper Shai Hope made no mistake in removing the bails while the Indian skipper was still out of the crease. He was dismissed for 140 off just 107 deliveries.

After Kohli’s dismissal, Ambati Rayudu (22), who has accepted the burden of solving India’s number 4 conundrum, supported Rohit till the end, seeing India cross the victory line with eight wickets to spare. Rohit Sharma remained unbeaten on 152, becoming the first man on the planet to have six scores over 150.

Earlier, West Indies started off their batting in signature style dealing in boundaries. The debutant Chandrapaul Hemraj even sent the ball twice to the ropes on the last two deliveries of Shami’s second over. Getting a little confidence, Hemraj tried to pull one but played the ball late as the stumps were knocked over. He departed for just nine runs. His compatriot Keiron Powell was skimming runs at the other end and quietly reached his half-century. He had to take the long walk back to the stadium soon on 51.

Marlon Samuels followed the suit for a second-ball duck and West Indies were reeling at 86 for three in the 16th over. Shai Hope (32) got a good start, but couldn’t convert it into big innings and lost wicket. Hope was undone when a snick off Shami was gathered by Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the back.

A swashbuckling Hetmyer continued the onslaught and smashed six sixes and six fours, under pressure. Kieran hit straight to long-on, where Shikhar Dhawan was at the boundary when the scorecard read 246 for five. Hetmyer mistimed a sweep off Jadeja which was comfortably castled by Rishabh Pant.

Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal took the charge tried to assert their dominance. Chahal came back to trap Ashley Nurse immediately for just two runs. It was left to skipper Jason Holder, who began the job well, hitting five fours in his 38, but fell to an attempted paddle sweep in the 44th over.

Kemar Roach and Devendra Bishoo made sure they batted through the innings, and along the way dispatched the loose balls to add 44 off 40 for the ninth wicket. The duo took the score past 320, usually considered the bare minimum in day-night ODIs on an Indian pitch.