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Shimron Hetmyer launched an attack on the Indian bowlers, scoring his fifth ODI century.

At the end of the Indian innings, the match was poised to be a closely-fought one. However, the West Indies batters came out firing on all cylinders and helped the Caribbean team win by eight wickets. With the victory at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Kieron Pollard and Co went 1-0 up in the series. The Men in Blue now have their task cut out to stay alive in the Vizag ODI.

Pant and Iyer steady the ship

India had their moments of jitters after being put in to bat first. Sheldon Cottrell pinned Virat Kohli and KL Rahul in the single digits. Rohit Sharma (36) had a laboured stint in the middle becoming succumbing to a mistimed pull off Alzarri Joseph. With the home team at 80/3 in 18.1 overs, Shreyas Iyer (70) and Rishabh Pant (70) took charge. The young duo added 114 runs for the fourth wicket.

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Joseph got rid of Iyer to give the West Indies the much-needed breakthrough. A few overs later, Kieron Pollard accounted for Pant’s wicket. The onus was then on the experienced pair of Kedar Jadhav (40) and Ravindra Jadeja (21) and they guided India to 287/8. Apart from Cottrell and Joseph, pacer Keemo Paul also picked up a couple of wickets in the form of Jadhav and Shivam Dube.

Hetmyer and Hope smother India

The run-chase didn’t start on a happy note for the visitors as Deepak Chahar trapped Sunil Ambris in front to strike first blood. From there on, Shai Hope (102*) and Shimron Hetmyer (139) made sure that India weren’t allowed a foothold back into the contest. Hope buckled down, but Hetmyer kept the scoreboard ticking, playing some superb strokes and also rotating the strike at regular intervals.

The second-wicket stand fetched 218 runs made Pollard’s men the favourites. Hetmyer got his fifth ODI ton off 85 balls and eventually got out to Mohammed Shami. His knock was laced with 11 fours and seven sixes. Hope also stayed unbeaten, hitting seven fours and a six. Nicholas Pooran (29) came in, smashed four fours and helped the visiting team chase down the target with 13 balls to spare.

Shimron Hetmyer, the Player of the Match, said

I don’t know from where the power is coming from. I am trying to hit as hard as I can. This ton means a lot to me. The last one I had was at the start of the year and this one came at the end of the year. It always nice to have a smile on the face after the victory. It’s a good feeling because the last time, I got a hundred, we lost the game.

Kieron Pollard, the West Indies skipper, added

We know the talent that he has. He has been struggling a bit in the last 9 months. He has been in the team from the last 18 months. And he has a taste of international cricket. Everyone playing should be accountable and responsible for the team. With experience comes confidence and Cottrell is bowling superbly for us. (On Jadeja’s run-out) At the end of the day, the right decision was made and that’s the most important thing for me.

Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, added

Very good signs for us with the performances of Iyer and Pant. They went about their business in a smart manner. We thought six bowling options would be enough. I don’t think pitch changed drastically, they batted brilliantly. Hetmyer’s innings was outstanding. The people sitting outside cannot tell the fielder and they can’t ask the umpire about the run out. I have never seen this in cricket.

Shai Hope said

Cramping a bit, that’s why I’m not smiling too much. Key is to stay as long as possible, see off the new ball, assess the situation. Key is for someone to bat deep, win the game. Pitch was a bit of the slow turner. Don’t know how he (Hetmyer) did it, made batting look easy. Cricket is partnerships. As long as someone bat deeps. The way he was playing, took the pressure off.

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