Riding on the back of a valiant century by wicketkeeper Shai Hope and a cameo by Shemron Hetmyer, West Indies were able bring a nerve-wracking one-day international (ODI) against India to a tie score by equalling India's 321-run total in Vishakhapatnam, on Wednesday.
With five runs needed to win off the last ball, Hope smashed a boundary to snatch the win from India's grasp.
Considering the mountain of runs that Windies had to climb, West Indies openers Keiran Powell and Chandrapaul Hemraj had the leeway of dispatching balls to the ropes at their whim. But it proved fatal when, in the seventh over, Mohammad Shami gave the Windies first jolt. Powell (18 off 20 balls) pulled shot ball with little room with Pant grabbing a comfortable catch at midwicket.
Wicketkeeper Shai Hope joined Hemraj in the middle. But Hemraj (32 off 24 balls) didn't stick around for long as he failed to read a Kuldeep Yadav googly in line with the stumps.
Kuldeep scalped his second prey in quick succession as another ripper dislodged the bails of Marlon Samuels (13 runs off 10 balls). This left West Indies reeling at 78 for the loss of 3 wickets in 12th over. But, what followed thereon changed the course of the match.
Shimron Hetmyer, who had scored a ton in the first ODI, picked up from where he had left in Guwahati. He entertained with a demolishing cameo scoring 94 off just 64 deliveries. Hetmyer and Hope anchored the Windies innings putting up a 143-run stand for the fourth wicket. Hetmyer, who had been timing the ball sweetly, got a top-edge which was collected by Virat Kohli at short cover in 32nd over.
With just 100 runs needed off the last 18 overs, subsequent batsman Rovman Powell hammered a boundary and a six scoring run-a-ball 18. He was serving well but a Kuldeep googly again undid him as he edged one to Rohit placed at the slip in 38th over. This brought India back into the game as Windies needed another 69 runs to win. Ravindra Jadeja rose to the occasion drying up the run flow conceding just 5 runs in last three overs of his quota.
Windies skipper Jason Holder and Hope tried to consolidate the innings but in the 48th over the skipper was run out. With 13 runs needed off the last over, tail-ender Ashley Nurse sent one to the ropes. Though it was ruled as a leg-bye Windies were capitalising on the opportunity.
Earlier, Indian skipper Virat Kohli had smashed 157 runs to levitate India to a 321-run total.
While the entire cricketing fraternity had set eyes on Kohli's 10,000-run record, the opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were also eyeing another record. They needed just 29 runs to become the second-best Indian opening pair shattering the record of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
Rohit started off in his natural hitman style, hitting a boundary in the fourth ball. However, a Sharma pounced on a lofted Kemar Roach delivery and Hetmyer pocked the catch in 4th over. Sharma departed for 4 runs which brought the on-song skipper Kohli to the crease.
While Dhawan was scoring at run-a-ball speed, he tried to defend one and missed in the 8th over. The bowler Ashley Nurse made an lbw appeal which was turned down but Windies skipper reviewed. The replay showed an impact on the top of the leg stump which sent Dhawan back to pavilion for 29 runs off 30 balls.
Now, Ambati Rayudu who been given the responsibility of consolidating innings at number four joined forces with skipper Kohli. The duo stitched together a herculean 139-run partnership with Rayudu smashing his 9th ODI fifty. Rayudu, who was playing the swingers well, clobbering them through covers, went for a slog sweep on a deceptive slower one bowled by Ashley Nurse in 33rd over and completely missed the length. His stumps went for a ride sending him off for 73 off 80 balls when the scorecard read 179 at the loss of three wickets. India were staring at a big total with the experienced Mahendra Singh Dhoni taking the centre stage with Kohli.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been struggling with runs of late, became a victim of the Obed McCoy in the 41st over. The fall of Dhoni brought the second wicketkeeper-batsman in the Indian team, Rishabh Pant to the middle. But, Pant disappointed as he was caught plumb by Marlon Samuels on a slower one for 17.
The succeeding batsman, Ravindra Jadeja, too, perished soon in pursuit of some quick runs.
India will next face West Indies at their third out of five ODIs at Pune on October 27.