Kohli stars again in run chase as India ease to victory over West Indies

By Sports Desk December 06, 2019

Captain Virat Kohli led from the front, hitting an unbeaten 94, as India overhauled West Indies' total of 207-5 with ease to record a six-wicket win in the Twenty20 series opener.

While not at his fluent best in the early stages, Kohli picked up the pace in the second half of India’s impressive run chase, rushing his side over the line with eight balls to spare in Hyderabad.

The right-hander was afforded time to get his eye in by the efforts of team-mate KL Rahul, who passed 1,000 runs in the format at international level during his knock of 62.

West Indies had cleared the boundary 15 times to set what appeared to be a stiff target at the halfway stage, Shimron Hetmyer leading the onslaught with 56. His maiden international T20 half-century was not without the odd slice of luck, however, as India missed a number of opportunities in the field.

The home team failed to take three successive chances at the start of the 17th over, allowing West Indies to post the second highest total by a touring team in a T20 fixture on Indian soil.

Evin Lewis (40) and Brandon King (31) added 51 for the second wicket, while captain Kieron Pollard weighed in with 37 from 19 deliveries, matching Hetmyer’s tally of four sixes.

Jason Holder managed two maximums himself in the final over as he contributed 24 not out, though he was on the receiving end of some heavy hitting during an India reply that overcame the early setback of losing Rohit Sharma for eight.

Rahul - back at the top of the order in place of the injured Shikhar Dhawan - helped put on a century stand with his skipper before becoming the second batsman to fall to left-arm spinner Khary Pierre (2-44).

Still, by that stage Kohli had moved through the gears as he motored towards the target. Kesrick Williams came in for some particularly heavy punishment, leaking 60 runs from his 3.4 overs, as India prevailed in the first of three T20 matches between the sides.

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    “My role is not to come back and try and take anyone’s spot or to play every game but to try and share whatever knowledge I have and have gained over the years. I believe with a captain like Polly and a coach like Phil (Simmons) that these young players can produce great things for West Indies in times to come.”

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    “Kevlon Anderson’s hundred was well-paced as he mixed good strike rotation with some power hitting. Captain Kimani Melius and Leonardo Julien set the tempo for the innings with run-a-ball half-centuries on a wicked that was well suited to their stroke play and positive intent,” West said.

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  • Kohli hails Rahul and Dhawan as India fend off Australia to square series Kohli hails Rahul and Dhawan as India fend off Australia to square series

    Virat Kohli hailed KL Rahul's contribution as India beat Australia in Rajkot to level their ODI series at 1-1 and set up a decider on Sunday.

    Wicketkeeper-batsman Rahul scored a rapid 80 and had three dismissals behind the stumps as India scored a 36-run victory, defending a total of 340-6 by bowling out Australia for 304.

    Rahul moved from number three to five in the batting order, with captain Kohli nudging up to three, as India adjusted their line-up after a 10-wicket thumping in the opening game of the series.

    Kohli said: "I think it's very important to figure out what is the best team you can put on the park and when someone's batting as well as KL was batting today, it's very difficult to leave someone like that out.

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    Kohli made 78, sharing a 103-run partnership for the second wicket with Shikhar Dhawan, whose 96 helped anchor the innings.

    "Back to three was good for the team so I'm happy from that point of view that it helped the team," Kohli said.

    Paying tribute to Dhawan, Kohli added: "In ODI cricket, he's been one of our most consistent performers. When he plays well it's a good sign for the team. I'm very happy that he scored runs as well. It always augurs well when Rohit [Sharma] and Shikhar both score runs."

    Australia's ODI skipper Aaron Finch accepted his side had allowed India to put too many runs on the board.

    "Yes, probably, but they played very well," Finch said.

    "The whole way through the innings, we were probably one wicket shy of where we really needed to be to contain them at the back end and on an outfield like this with a good wicket and world-class players it can be hard to stop no matter what attack you've got."

    Steve Smith's 98 kept Australia in touch, and Marnus Labuschagne made 46 in his first ODI innings, but Australia folded in the closing overs.

    Ahead of the series decider in Bengaluru, Finch sent a message to his team, saying: "You just have to make sure that when you get in, you capitalise and you go really big.

    "That's probably the area where we were slightly off tonight with the bat, just one wicket too many down as the run rate kept going up."

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