Visakhapatnam: India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said his team was lucky to get away with a tie in the high-scoring second one-dayer against West Indies at Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.
Batting first, India posted a challenging 321-6, riding on Kohli’s record-breaking unbeaten 157.
Chasing the target, West Indies needed 14 off six balls to win but the visitors ended scoring 321 for 7 after Shai Hope (123) hit a boundary in the last ball off Umesh Yadav.
“It was a great game of cricket. Credit to the Windies, they showed great fight. Specially in the second innings, after they were three down, Hetmyer and Hope stuck it out. They took on us and didn’t give us any chance whatsoever,” said Kohli, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his 129-ball 157-run unbeaten innings.
“The pitch was drastically different in the second innings. We were looking at 275-280 only, but I got going and we got those extra runs. We had a challenge in front of us today and luckily we got away with a tie and we’ll take that at the end of the day.”
West Indies looked good to overhaul the target as Shimron Hetmyer (94) and Hope forged a 143-run partnership for the fourth wicket to lay the foundation of the chase.
Kohli said: “When the run rate fell under six, I thought they had good chance but Kuldeep (Yadav) got a wicket, (Yuzvendra) Chahal bowled a brilliant over and Umesh (Yadav)and (Mohammed) Shami closed it out.
“The game nicely drifted in the last seven overs and one boundary off Umesh off the shoe and one in the end, a couple of inches from Rayudu from pulling it in. That’s how the game goes. I’ve enjoyed being a part of it and West Indies certainly deserved a draw for the way they played.”
Asked about his decision to bat first after winning the toss, Kohli said: “It’s something we decided pre-game, it was hot and humid. In big tournaments like in World Cup, you might have to put runs on the board and defend. We have to embrace every challenge that comes our way.”
Kohli was effusive in his praise for Ambati Rayudu, who scored an 80-ball 73.
“Rayudu was really professional. He is someone we are looking at as a permanent number four. He plays spin well, he plays pace well, he’s in good momentum, in good form,” he said.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder said his run-out and the fall of Hetmyer were the turning points of the match.
“I guess the run-out of myself. And the wicket of Hetmyer as well, he was the set batsman, they were getting runs easy,” he said when asked about the turning points.
“We said at the beginning of the innings that one of our top four had to go on and bat till the end. Good on Shai to do that. India got a par score. Before coming here, we knew we should be hitting that mark over and over. I thought our bowlers tried. But we were a bit sloppy in the field.”
Holder congratulated Kohli for his 10,000 runs and also praised Hope for his 123-run innings.
“Really good game of cricket. Two outstanding knocks, Virat played a brilliant knock and congrats to him on the milestone. Shai Hope though, young player, scoring a century like that in a high-pressure game,” he said.
“Hetty was upset that he got out in a crucial stage and we had a very good chance and it was very good to see Shai bat till the end. I thought it was around par, and it’s very good to see that we had two consistent games in a row. Obviously we could have picked a few more wickets in the middle overs.”
Asked about Obed McCoy, who made his debut today, Holder said: “He (Obed McCoy) is one of those guys who has a lot of variations. Quite effective at that stage of the game and I like the way he handled himself in his maiden game. It’s really good to see him come in and perform that way.”
Hope, who almost earned the win for West Indies with an unbeaten 123, was crestfallen after failing to cross the line.
“Just disappointed we didn’t get the win, fought really hard throughout the game. We lost wickets at crucial stages, especially Jason. Needed to have wickets in hand and have someone finish the game,” he said.
“It was an even wicket, pretty similar, perhaps got better under lights with the new ball and spun for both teams. We are here to win, we didn’t come to just compete.”
Asked what was the tactics in the last few overs of the run chase, Hope said: “Just get bat on ball, make those ones into twos and look to see the team home.