India put on a masterful display at the Brian Lara Cricket Ground in Trinidad, securing a resounding 200-run victory over West Indies to claim the ODI series 2-1.
With the series hanging in the balance, India stepped up without the services of stalwarts Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, but that did not deter them from posting a mammoth total of 351/5 in their 50 overs.
The Indian innings saw a strong start by Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill, though they had their share of early jitters. Kishan survived a dropped catch and an edge that fell short of the fielders, while Gill had a couple of close calls with run-out chances due to miscommunication.
However, the young duo quickly found their rhythm and began scoring at a rapid pace, bringing up their fifties at a rate better than a run-a-ball.
The hosts finally managed to break the partnership at 143, as Cariah’s crafty flight deceived Kishan, leading to a stumping dismissal. Gaikwad followed suit soon after, edging a sharp delivery from Joseph to the slip cordon.
However, the dismissal only heralded the arrival of Sanju Samson, who launched a ferocious assault on the West Indies bowlers. Gill, in the meantime, took a backseat as Samson went on a rampage, but he too fell after a brisk fifty, chipping one from Shepherd to mid-off.
Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya then took charge of the middle overs, steadying the ship with a 65-run partnership off just 49 balls. Even after losing Suryakumar, Pandya unleashed a flurry of boundaries in the slog overs, helping India surge past the 350-run mark.
In response, West Indies faced an uphill battle, and it turned into a disastrous start as Mukesh Kumar dismantled the stumps of Brandon King for a duck and dismissed Kyle Mayers soon after. The dependable Shai Hope also fell prey to Kumar, leaving West Indies reeling at 17-3.
The collapse continued with Jaydev Unadkat getting rid of Carty, and Shardul Thakur claiming the crucial wickets of Shimron Hetmyer and Romario Shepherd. The home team plummeted to 50-6, staring at an imposing target of 352 in the series decider.
Yannic Cariah and Alick Athanaze showed some resistance, trying to stage a fightback, but Kuldeep Yadav intervened, removing Cariah and then having him trapped in front, reducing West Indies to 88-8.
A brief revival came from the partnership of Alzarri Joseph and Gudakesh Motie, who displayed commendable resilience and added 55 runs for the ninth wicket in under 10 overs.
However, their resistance was ultimately in vain as Shardul Thakur dismissed Joseph with a well-directed bouncer, nicking him off to Kishan.
A moment of controversy arose when Kuldeep Yadav appealed against Jayden Seales, who was initially given out caught.
The decision was reviewed, and while there was no bat involved, the ball was shown to be hitting the stumps, albeit the impact showed the umpire’s call. Since the on-field umpire had not given it as an LBW, the umpire’s call for LBW stood, and Seales survived.
Nonetheless, it was a mere formality for India, as Shardul Thakur had the last laugh, claiming Seales’ wicket by knocking over his stumps.
Thakur finished with impressive figures of four wickets, sealing India’s emphatic 200-run victory. Shubman Gill was rightly awarded the Man of the Match for his impressive knock of 85.
With this commanding win, India clinched the ODI series 2-1. As both teams now shift their focus to the upcoming five-match T20 series scheduled between August 3 and 13, 2023, the stage is set for another thrilling contest between the two cricketing powerhouses.