Windies’ bowlers and Hope make it 1-1 in Barbados

In a rainy Barbados on Saturday (July 29), a disciplined bowling effort headed by three-fers from Romario Shepherd and Gudakesh Motie, supported by some great catching, and a patient Shai Hope half-century enabled West Indies to tie the three-match ODI series. In their last ten efforts, West Indies have not previously defeated India in an ODI.

Despite a strong 90-run opening stand fueled by Ishan Kishan’s second consecutive half-century of the series, India, who had rested Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, was bowled out for 181 by the hosts inside 41 balls. West Indies exceeded the modest target with more than 13 overs to spare on a sluggish surface that gave turn and extra bounce, thanks to a steady 91* stand between Hope (63*) and Keacy Carty (48*), as well as a diametrically opposed opening partnership worth 53.

Soon after stepping onto the pitch, Kyle Mayers drove and flicked India’s new-ball duo of Hardik Pandya and Mukesh Kumar. Before Brandon King joined in, he even sent the Indian interim captain flying into the stands while advancing to 1000 ODI runs with a string of boundaries off Umran Malik. On the first ball of the ninth over, Mayers introduced Shardul Thakur to the attack with a beautiful flip for six over fine leg, bringing up the fifty-run partnership. However, he was out trying to duplicate the move one ball later. Thakur caught King LBW in the same over, dropping West Indies to 54/2.

West Indies had only been able to advance rapidly due to Hope’s quick start, which included a six to get things going. However, Thakur struck once more. Alick Athanaze was completely caught off guard by a well-placed bouncer, giving Kishan plenty of time to position himself beneath the top edge. However, the captain made sure that West Indies didn’t waste a strong start like the visitors did. Hope managed to keep the scoreboard ticking just enough to keep them ahead of the DLS par score considering the cloudy conditions, despite losing Shimron Hetmyer to a Kuldeep Yadav googly shortly after. The two did well to rotate strike successfully and move in closer to the target once Carty got his eye in.

Hope reached fifty in just 70 balls, helping his team surpass the 150-run threshold in the process. The two seized charge of the chase and ensured West Indies reached the target without any further problems, despite not exactly dealing in boundaries till the very end.

Prior to the home World Cup, India wanted to try more things, but other than the new-look opening pair’s efforts, nothing really worked. Kishan took his time settling in because of the early swing that the humid, cloudy conditions provided. Meanwhile, Shubman Gill (34), who used his entire arsenal of shots to score some early goals, kept the scoreboard moving.

The southpaw, who had a few near misses in his early 20s, eventually outran Gill to a 51-ball fifty, his second in as many games. But just as they were about to reach the century stand, the hosts’ Motie made a breakthrough. To challenge the spinner, Gill danced down the track to loft a flighted delivery and holed out to the tall Joseph in the deep, starting a dramatic collapse of 5 for 23, from which India never really recovered.

Re-attempting the cut that had earned him a four earlier in the over, Kishan became the first of Shepherd’s double strikes, but this time Alick Athanaze pouched a remarkable take at backward point. Axar Patel, who moved up to No. 4 in the batting order, was out quickly after gloveing a short ball to the keeper.

West Indies’ march was temporarily stopped by Pandya and Sanju Samson, but only for a short while, as Jayden Seales later returned to send Pandya packing cheaply off another short one. Samson was outside-edged to the keeper on the very next ball by Yannic Cariah, leaving India reeling at 113/5 as the rain began to fall, stopping play for the next 45 minutes.

However, the wicket parade on the other side did not stop, giving West Indies further momentum. Jadeja top-edged his pull to provide a comfortable catch to the right of deep backward square when Shepherd attacked with yet another bouncer. After a run-a-ball 24 and another three balls, Athanaze made another excellent grab at backward point to put an end to Suryakumar’s cameo.

India passed the 150-run threshold thanks to Thakur’s struggle, but his presence was brief. Late in the day, Joseph opened his account with two strikes in three balls, separated by a 15-minute rain delay, and Motie completed the match with one ball remaining in the 41st over. Intriguingly, West Indies bowled out India for less than 200 runs for the 29th time, breaking Pakistan’s previous record of 28 times.

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