The duo took centre stage after a rare failure by skipper Virat Kohli.
India embarrassed the West Indies by 224 runs in the fourth One-day International here Monday for one of their biggest wins and a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. Rohit Sharma (162) and Ambati Rayudu (100) struck belligerent centuries to guide India to an imposing 377 for five after the hosts opted to bat.
The duo took centre stage after a rare failure by skipper Virat Kohli. Rohit’s 21st century came off 137 balls with the help of 20 fours and four hits over the fence, while Rayudu decorated his 100-run knock with eight boundaries and four sixes. Chasing 378, West Indies simply caved in against India’s clinical bowling attack on what was a batting-friendly wicket to be bundled out for a paltry 153 in 36.2 overs.
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Young pacer Khaleel Ahmed (3/13) impressed upfront before chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (3/42)) ran through the West Indies’ tail. The Indians dished out an impressive effort on the field, inflicting two run outs besides Rohit holding onto three fine catches in the slips. This is India’s third biggest win in the format. Their biggest-ever win in ODI remains the 257-run demolition of Bermuda in the 2007 ICC World Cup.
West Indies’ chase never really got going as they lost half of their side inside the 50-run mark with Khaleel doing the bulk of the damage. Except for skipper Jason Holder (54 not out), no other West Indian batsmen could withstand the Indian attack, as the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals and were never really in the hunt. West Indies lost two wickets — Chandrapul Hemraj (14) and Shai Hope (0) — in the fifth over. While Hemraj gave a sitter to Rayadu off Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Hope was run out courtesy a stunning direct hit by Kuldeep from mid-on.
Matters became worse for the visitors after Kieran Powell (4) was run-out in the very next over by Kohli. Wickets kept tumbling and the next to be dismissed was Shimron Hetymar (13), who was trapped in front by Ahmed in the 10th over, even though the batsman went for an unsuccessful review. The 20-year-old Ahmed was on fire as he picked up two more wickets in quick succession.
He first cleaned up Rovman Powell (1) and then accounted for Samuels, who edged one to Rohit in the first slip. Batting first, India made a quick start with Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan (38) and added a run-a-ball 71 for the opening stand before the latter pulled a Keemo Paul short delivery straight to Powell at the midwicket boundary. Kohli, who hit three consecutive tons before Monday’s match, played aggressively for his 16 before edging a Kemar Roach delivery to Hope behind the stumps. Rohit and Rayudu held fort and continued to play aggressive brand of cricket.
The duo continued the onslaught and made the West Indies attack look ordinary, picking up boundaries and sixes at will. After Kohli’s dismissal, Rohit, who had scored a match-winning unbeaten 152 in the lung-opener at Guhawati, and Rayudu built the innings and in the process shared a breezy 211-run stand for the third wicket, which came off just 163 deliveries.
Rohit didn’t spare a single West Indian bowler and made his intentions clear when he opened the account with a boundary over point. The Mumbaikar initially played second fiddle to Dhawan but after his half century, that came off 60 balls, he upped the ante. Rohit displayed all the shots in the book — the drives, pulls, flicks and cuts — before he departed in the 44th over. Rayadu, on the other hand, took time to settle down, but then hammered the bowlers with his exquisite stroke-play — first in Rohit’s company and then alongside veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23).
Kedar Jadhav (16) and Ravindra Jadeja (7) remained unbeaten as the hosts amassed 116 runs in the last 10 overs. India won the first ODI by eight wickets before the second game ended in a tie. West Indies bounced back to win the third ODI by 43 runs. The final match of the series will be played in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.