India hold off Holder in final ODI to complete maiden series sweep over West Indies

Jason Holder’s third multiple-wicket haul in his last eight white ball matches should have earned the Nicholas Pooran-led West Indies some World Cup Super League points in the third and final game of the three-match day/night ODI series.

But India’s challenging 265 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad again proved a bridge too far for the consistently brittle West Indies batting line-up, which could only manage 169 in reply.

Photo: India batsman Rishabh Pant (right) smashes a delivery off his legs while West Indies wicketkeeper Shai Hope looks on during ODI action in Ahmedabad.
(Copyright BCCI)

The result meant that the fourth-ranked India claimed all 30 of the points on offer, taking the game by 96 runs and the series 3-0—the first time they have ever swept the WI in a series.

It was an innings-steadying fourth-wicket, 110-run partnership between Man-of-the-Match Shreyas Iyer (80 off 111, 9 x 4) and Rishabh Pant (56 off 54, 6 x 4, 1 x 6) that steered the Rohit Sharma-led home side to their victory today.

The Pant/Iyer pairing started slowly, content to have a look at what the Pooran-led West Indians had to offer. And Pooran was not shy to show them, making seven bowling changes between Shikar Dhawan’s dismissal in the tenth over and over #28 when the 100 partnership came up.  And, searching for another wicket, two more in the next two overs.

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But Pant and Iyer, apparently unperturbed by the pedestrian sub-5 pace of progress, went from 61 to 88 and then to 119 in the next two five-over spells. When the 100 partnership came up in the 28th over, the rate had increased to 5.07.

Pant got to his 50 in the next over and then feathered Hayden Walsh, in for the indisposed Akeal Hosein, through to Pooran. Iyer, on 60 at that stage, stuck around for another eight overs before Walsh also accounted for him, caught by Darren Bravo at long-off trying to force the pace.

Photo: India batsman Shreyas Iyer (left) celebrates his half-century while West Indies leg- spinner Hayden Walsh Jr looks on during ODI action in Ahmedabad.
(Copyright BCCI)

With four changes to the Game Two side, India won the toss and Rohit opted to bat on what was a generally good though a little bouncy track. But they did not start very well, reaching only 16 in the fourth over before Alzarri Joseph repeated his Game One feat and got rid of both the skipper and his immediate predecessor, Virat Kohli.

The prolific Kohli’s woes—not a single three-figure score since August 2019—continued, the former skipper adding a third-ball duck to his 8 and 18 in the first two matches.

And Odean Smith, who had also claimed two wickets in an over early in Game Two, deepened India’s distress, inducing an edge from an uncharacteristically unsure Dhawan in the last powerplay over to leave the home side on 42 for 3.

That was when Pant and Iyer hauled them back to respectability. And Deepak Chahar, on 3 after his first 13 balls, took 14 runs off Walsh’s last three balls to end with a run-a-ball 38 and push the target beyond the point the visitors had not reached in their last four outings.

In his last three-over spell, Holder, who only used eight of his 10 allotted overs, cleaned up Chahar, Washington Sundar (33 off 34, 2 x 4, 1 x 6), Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj to end with 8-1-34-4.

Photo: West Indies allrounder Jason Holder goes to work with the ball.
(via CWI Media)

That brought his tally of wickets since his January 22 heroics against England to 20.

Having given away any number of extra runs with their 18 wides and the extra deliveries, the Maroon Men would have been hoping for similar indiscipline from India. Instead, Rohit’s bowlers served up just nine wides and only Washington Sundar failed to take a wicket from his four overs.

The indiscipline came from the West Indies ranks as there was a constant procession between the pavilion and the middle. Hope went early, erroneously given lbw to Siraj in the fourth over before the next nine batsmen fell to catches, not all of them off unplayable balls.

King (14) and Brooks (0) then perished at 25 in the fifth over and Bravo and Pooran moved the score to 68 before an unconvincing Bravo (19) left, edging a wide delivery from Prasidh to Kohli at slip.

Pooran stayed long enough to see the back of both Holder (6) and Fabian Allen (0), caught Pant off Kuldeep trying for a big drive off his first ball.

Photo: West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran drives elegantly down the ground during an ICC T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on 29 October 2021 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
(Copyright Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

With Pooran (34 off 39, 2 x4, 1 x 6) falling to Kuldeep in the 19th over to make the score 82 for 7, Joseph and top-scorer Smith (36 off 18, 3 x 4, 3 x 6) showed their more accomplished teammates what was possible. The pair took the score to 122 before Smith tried to clear mid-on but succeeded only in giving Dhawan an easy catch.

Hayden Walsh Jr joined Joseph and together they looked as if had decided to bat as long as possible. But Siraj accounted for Walsh (13) as well and Joseph (29 off 56, 1 x 4, 2 x 6) allowed Roach only four balls before he holed out to Kohli off Prasidh to end the innings with the better part of 13 overs still left.

Prasidh’s 8.1-1-27-3 today earned him the Player of-the-Series award after his 10-0-29-2 and 9-3-12-4 in the first two matches.

Rohit said his side had ‘ticked a lot of boxes this series—whatever we wanted to get out of the series, we got’.

Pooran was in no position to say the same. He congratulated the new India leadership on their first white ball series victory and praised his bowlers, saying that ‘the way we bowled was wonderful, […] fantastic’.

Photo: West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph (left) celebrates the capture of the wicket of India star batsman Virat Kohli during the ODI series in Ahmedabad.
(Copyright BCCI)

But, he added, sounding like a broken record, ‘we have a lot of work to do with batting and bowling, more so batting this series. […] It seems we are better at the shorter format but we need to put in work in the longer format’.

The team management and the fans won’t have long to wait to see if there is any truth in that last claim. Next Wednesday, a three-match T20 series begins in Eden Gardens in Kolkata, a venue that carries very happy T20 memories for the West Indies.

(Match Summary)

Toss: India

India: 265 all out (50 overs) (Shreyas Iyer 80, Rishabh Pant 56; Deepak Chahar 38, Washington Sundar 33; Jason Holder 4/34, Alzarri Joseph 2/54, Hayden Walsh 2/59)

West Indies: 169 all out (37.1 overs) (Odean Smith 36, Nicholas Pooran 34, Prasidh Krishna 3/27; Mohammed Siraj 3/29, Deepak Chahar 2/41, Kuldeep Yadav 2/51)

Man-of-the-Match: Shreyas Iyer

Result: India win by 96 runs

Man-of-the-Series: Prasidh Krishna

India win three-match series 3-0

About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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