Virat Kohli blasted his 42nd century to give India a 59-run win in the second ODI against the West Indies at the Queen's park Oval as his side took a 1-0 lead in the series. (Image credit: BCCI Twitter)
Virat Kohli had not scored a century in ODIs since the Ranchi ODI against Australia in March 2019. In the World Cup, he had scored five consecutive fifties and uncharacteristically, did not convert any of those scores into hundreds. Five months later, at the Queens Park Oval, King Kohli broke the century rut in grand style by smashing records during his 42nd century. Aided by Shreyas Iyer and a sensational spell of 4/31 from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India held their nerve in a game reduced to 46 overs due to rain as they registered a 59-run win via the DLS method in the second ODI to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at Port of Spain on Sunday.
Kohli's knock once again reiterated that in the ODI game, there is none better than him while Iyer's knock at No.5 will give the team management plenty of positivity as they aim to sort out their middle order woes. India chose to bat but they suffered an early jolt when Sheldon Cottrell trapped Shikhar Dhawan LBW for 2 in the first over. With just one second left to go, Windies skipper Jason Holder opted for the review and replays showed that Dhawan did not edge the ball and he was a goner. In stepped Kohli and he got going with two fours off Kemar Roach to signal his intent. The Indian skipper would hrun out Rohit Sharma but the fielder missed.
Kohli found the boundaries at will while Rohit struggled for fluency. The partnership went past fifty and Kohli broke some records as he became the leading run-getter in ODIs against the West Indies, breaking the 26-year-old record set by Javed Miandad of Pakistan. Rohit fell for 18 to Roston Chase as he miscued the inside-out lofted shot and the situation was ideal for Rishabh Pant to cement his credentials in the middle order. After starting well, Pant was bogged down by the accuracy of Chase and in the process, played an ugly hoick across the line to Carlos Brathwaite to fall for a scratchy 20.
While Pant missed his opportunity, Iyer pounced on it and showed his mettle. The Mumbai right-hander smashed two fours off Roach as Kohli smoothly made his way to 100. Kohli neared his century by lofting Holder over long off for the first six of the game and his century drought finally ended when he pushed a full ball to long on. Kohli went past Sourav Ganguly's tally of 11363 runs to become the eighth-highest overall run-getter in ODIs while Iyer smashed his fifty. Kohli also became the first individual to hit 200 fours against the West Indies and also 2000 runs in ODIs.
Iyer reached his fifty in style and Kohli raised his gear by blasting three fours in one over bowled by Oshane Thomas. However, West Indies fought back in the death overs when Kohli miscued Carlos Brathwaite to be caught at long off. After a 15-minute rain delay, Iyer looked good to get India near 300. However, after hitting Roach for a six, Iyer shuffled a bit too across to the off side to be dismissed by Holder for 71. The quick wickets of Iyer and Kohli dented India in the death overs and they managed 279/7.
In response, Queen's Park Oval had a moment to celebrate when Chris Gayle became the leading run-getter for West Indies overall in ODIs by breaking the Prince of Trinidad, Brian Lara's 12-year record. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar cut the celebrations short when he trapped Gayle in front for 11 and even the review did not save him. Khaleel Ahmed got the wicket of Shai Hope dragging on for 5 but Evin Lewis, plagued by an ankle injury and cramps in the heat, fought on. After a 39-minute rain delay, the West Indies had a revised target of 270 in 46 overs.
Following the break, Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer regularly found the boundary but Kuldeep Yadav broke the dangerous stand when Hetmyer mistimed a pull shot to be caught at short cover by Kohli. Nicholas Pooran got going with a couple of clean hits off the spinners while Lewis notched up his sixth fifty. With Pooran and Lewis batting confidently, West Indies managed to sneak above the DLS par score and for some time, they were in the hunt to pull off a superb win. However, Kuldeep took his second wicket when Lewis fell for 65 but Pooran still hung in and until he was at the crease, West Indies had a faint glimmer of hope.
However, the 35th over of the innings proved to be the game changer. Bhuvneshwar Kumar first sent back Pooran for 45 as the batsman miscued the pull shot to be caught at midwicket and in the same over accounted for Roston Chase. The floodgates opened and Ravindra Jadeja, introduced in the 28th over of the West Indies chase, sent back Carlos Brathwaite for 0. Whrn Bhuvneshwar cleaned up Roach for 0, West Indies had lost four wickets for four runs and that proved to be the killer blow in their chase. Mohammed Shami picked up the last two wickets as India completed a professional win but at the Queen's Park Oval, the cricketing world witnessed the return of King Kohli doing what he does best -scoring hundreds just for fun.