Virat Kohli’s 43rd one-day international century anchored a six-wicket (DLS) win over the West Indies in a rain-affected match at the Port of Spain.
Chris Gayle, playing his 301st game in the format, had smashed 72 from 41 balls in potentially his final ODI as he struck five sixes and eight fours – putting on an opening stand of 115 inside 11 overs in Trinidad alongside Evin Lewis (43 off 29).
Lewis and Gayle then fell in the space of five balls as India pegged the hosts back, with Jason Holder’s side on 158-2 after 22 overs before rain intervened.
The match was reduced to 35 overs per side and Nicholas Pooran blasted 30 off 16 balls after the resumption of play as the West Indies posted 240-7.
Chasing a revised 255, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer (65) shared a match-defining 120-run fourth-wicket partnership, the former completing his hundred off 94 balls as the visitors’ captain led his side home with 15 balls spare.
West Indies lost the three-match series 2-0, having seen the opening ODI in Guyana washed out before India won the second, in Port of Spain on Sunday, by 59 runs on DLS when Kohli notched his 42nd century in the format.
Gayle had intended to retire from ODI cricket at the end of the World Cup but delayed that to figure in the India series, though it remains unknown whether he will play against Afghanistan in November when the sides contest a three-match series in India.
The hosts started relatively sedately in Wednesday’s game, perhaps hampered by a short rain delay after nine deliveries, and were on 13-0 after four overs at Queen’s Park Oval after electing to bat.
However, Lewis and Gayle then creamed 101 runs from the next six overs, with India seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Khaleel Ahmed taken apart.
Gayle’s efforts included four boundaries off Shami in the sixth over and three off Ahmed successively in the 10th before he skewed the latter to Kohli at mid-off in the 12th.
Yuzvendra Chahal, who had Lewis caught slog-sweeping in the 11th over, and Kedar Jadhav strangled the rate win spin once the West Indies openers had been dislodged, with the home side only able to muster 37 runs between overs 13 and 22.
Should this prove Gayle’s final ODI, he will end his career in the format with 10,480 runs at an average 37.83, including 25 centuries and 54 fifties.
The left-hander overtook Brian Lara as West Indies’ leading ODI run-scorer of all time in Sunday’s second ODI in Guyana.
W Indies vs India
August 22, 2019, 2:25pm
With the match reduced to 35 overs per side, Shimron Hetmyer (25), Pooran and Carlos Brathwaite (16) all added vital runs to drag hosts to a challenging total – Ahmed the pick of the Indian bowlers with 3-68.
India’s chase of a revised 255 began poorly as Rohit Sharma was run out at the non-striker’s end for 10 and Fabian Allen then had Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Rishabh Pant (0) dismissed within three balls as India fell to 92-3 as the run rate began to rise.
However, the immovable Kohli was joined at the crease by a free-flowing Iyer and the latter smoked three fours and five maximums as he put on a blistering 65 off 41 balls to swing the match firming in India’s favour.
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