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Dominant India flex batting muscle to seal series



India 351 for 5 (Gill 85, Kishan 77, Pandya 70*, Samson 51, Shepherd 2-73) beat West Indies 151 (Motie 38*, Thakur 4-37, Mukesh 3-30) by 200 runs

India showed their batting might to beat West Indies by 200 runs in the series decider in Tarouba. They have now won 13 consecutive ODI series against West Indies, stretching all the way back to 2006.

After that, West Indies were never in the game. Mukesh Kumar wrecked their chase with three early wickets. And when Shardul Thakur also picked up two in his successive overs, it left them tottering at 50 for 6. A 59-run stand for the ninth wicket, between Alzarri Joseph and Gudakesh Motie, only delayed the inevitable.

In the morning, after Shai Hope opted to field, Kishan and Gill gave India a brisk start of 143 in 19.4 overs. Both openers enjoyed the ball coming on to the bat, which was not the case in the first two ODIs in Bridgetown. Kishan relished his luck, too. He was dropped by Keacy Carty on 9, and survived a run-out chance on 63, but his positive intent meant he finished with 77 off 64 balls despite not always looking in control. It was his third half-century in as many matches in the series.

Early on, Kishan was troubled by Kyle Mayers. Bowling around the wicket with the new ball, Mayers beat his outside edge twice in three overs. Kishan responded by dancing down the track and hitting him for back-to-back fours.

Gill got to face just one ball in the first two overs and got off the mark in the third, with a pulled four off Jayden Seales. In the fast bowler’s next over, he picked up two more boundaries, the first via a short-arm jab and the second via a punch between cover and point.

Gill and Kishan took India to 73 for no loss by the end of the tenth over. When the field restrictions were relaxed, Gill focused on playing risk-free cricket. Kishan, though, kept going for his shots. First, he hit Joseph a six and a four, and then drilled Motie down the ground. Another six, this time off Romario Shepherd, took him to 49 off 39 balls, and four balls later, he brought up his half-century.

Yannic Cariah broke the opening stand by having Kishan stumped for 77 off 64 balls. The legspinner beat him in the flight and with the turn as Kishan tried to use his feet.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, playing just his second ODI, didn’t last long and edged Joseph to first slip for 8.

Samson looked to attack right from the start, and hit three sixes in his first 13 balls. He was severe on Cariah, in particular, taking him for 28 runs off just ten balls. And even though Motie kept him quiet, conceding only four off 12 balls, Samson raced away to fifty in 39 balls.

Samson and Gill added 69 in just 8.5 overs, the latter contributing 18 off 12. The stand was broken when Samson, soon after his fifty, failed to clear mid-off against Shepherd. His wicket also put a brake on the scoring rate: Samson fell in the 32nd over; in the next eight, India managed only 23.

India lost Gill, too, during this phase. He was looking good for a hundred but fell for 85 off 92 balls; a length delivery from Motie got stuck in the pitch, resulting in an easy catch to short midwicket.

Batting at No. 6, Suryakumar Yadav gave a glimpse of his T20 fluency. He scored 35 off 30, which included a six on each side of the wicket behind the square. Towards the end of the innings, Hardik also hit a few lusty blows to finish unbeaten. It was a late acceleration by him. At one stage, he was on 11 off 22. Off the next 30, he scored almost two runs per ball to finish on 70 not out off 52.

West Indies’ chase never got going, with Mukesh getting Brandon King to edge one behind in the very first over. The seamer kept peppering the good length outside off and had Mayers chopping one onto his stumps and Hope nicking one to first slip. Those blows reduced West Indies to 17 for 3.

Jaydev Unadkat, playing his first ODI in almost ten years, took just five balls to an incision of his own. He got Carty to edge one to the right of first slip where Gill took a low catch. Shimron Hetmyer and Shepherd offered little resistance and fell to Thakur.

Just like in the first ODI, West Indies’ lower order could do little against Kuldeep Yadav’s variations. Joseph and Motie kept the Indian bowlers at bay for close to ten overs before Thakur bounced out Joseph. In his next over, Thakur rattled Seales’ stumps to complete the formalities.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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