Guwahati: There were over 36,000 people present in the Barsapara Cricket Stadium, in Guwahati to witness the first-ever One-Day International at the venue and Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma made sure each one of
them got their money’s worth as they ran a hapless Windies attack ragged leading India to a comfortable eight-wicket win on Sunday.
Kohli and Rohit have often in the past made bowling attacks look rather pedestrian and it turned out to be one of those days. Chasing a formidable 323-run target after Shimron Hetmyer’s classy century, the duo hardly
broke a sweat recording individual centuries as India chased down the target in a mere 42.1 overs, much to a capacity crowd’s delight.
The Windies would have been quietly confident after recording 322/8 against a good India attack at the half-way stage. Their happiness would further get amplified when Oshane Thomas, the much-talked-about
debutant, got the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan with just his sixth ball of the day, the opener dragging a 147kph bullet back onto his stumps for 4.
At 10/1 walked out Virat Kohli and in trademark fashion began accumulating runs along with Rohit, who too found his straps early. The Indian captain clipped Thomas for a four down to fine leg to get his boundary
counter running before flicking Kemar Roach wide of mid-on for another boundary. Rohit then got into the act as he slammed a bouncer from Thomas up and over the square leg fence and runs started flowing.
The Windies bowlers tried ruffling up the batsmen with a few short ones but with no pace on the surface as such coupled with how well both Rohit and Kohli tackle the short ball, it turned out to be a disastrous ploy.
Thomas was pulled to the deep midwicket fence with disdain before another short ball was scythed up and over covers by Kohli. Rohit then smoked Roach to the deep square leg fence to bring up the 50-run stand
between the duo.
There were no let-ups from any of the batsmen even as the spinners came on as the run-rate continued to soar. Windies did have a chance to get rid of the Indian captain when he slashed off-spinner Ashley Nurse
uppishly to point but debutant Chandrapaul Hemraj mistimed his jump and the ball evaded his hands to run away to the fence. The boundary brought up Kohli’s 49th ODI half-century, also signalling 2000 runs in the
calendar year for him, the only batsman to manage the feat so far in 2018.
It was relentless hitting from the duo all through almost as if they were trying to match each other shot-for-shot. Kohli’s consecutive fours were followed by Rohit’s consecutive sixes as each one of the Windies bowlers
travelled the distance leaving captain Jason Holder with very few options.
Kohli soon brought up 36th ODI century with a crisp drive off Roach through the covers bringing the crowd to its feet. Both batsmen then notched up another gear altogether bringing out some of the most sublime hitting
seen in recent times. Rohit moved through the 90s in quick time with a six and then reached his century – his 20th in ODIs – with a classy cover-drive.
Windies did get something to cheer when Bishoo stumped Kohli for 140 but the wicket came a little too late for the visitors. The Indian captain’s 107-ball effort was studded with 21 fours and two sixes as he walked
back to a resounding applause.
Rohit though made sure he saw the game through and along with Ambati Rayudu (22) helped India achieve the target with 47 balls to spare. The Indian vice-captain fittingly ended the game with a six off Hemraj, also
reaching his 150 in the process. He remained unbeaten on 152 off 117 balls, his innings laced with 15 fours and eight almighty sixes.
Earlier, sent into bat Hetmyer played the innings of his life to take his side to a competitive score. For India Yuzvendra Chahal was the most successful bowler picking up 3/41 while Shami and Jadeja chipped in with
two wickets apiece.