VISAKHAPATNAM, India, CMC – Stroke-maker Shai Hope smashed the last delivery of the match to the point boundary to earn West Indies a thrilling tie with India after they appeared on course for a rare win, in a high-scoring second One-Day International here yesterday.
Asked to chase a difficult 322 at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, the 24-year-old Hope carved out a superb unbeaten 123 – his second ODI hundred – but was unable to get West Indies over the line, after they needed 20 runs from the last two overs.
West Indies looked to be en route to victory especially after left-hander Shimron Hetmyer struck an exceptional 94 off just 64 deliveries, in an outstanding 143-run, fourth wicket partnership with Hope, who stroked 10 fours and three fours in a 134-ball innings.
But key strikes saw the Windies lose wickets and ultimately, momentum in the last 10 overs, and seamer Mohammed Shami sent down an outstanding penultimate over, conceding just six runs, leaving the visitors with an uphill task of getting 14 runs from the final over bowled by speedster Umesh Yadav.
Hope took a sharp single off the first ball and Ashley Nurse (5) then missed a low full toss that ricocheted off his pads to the third man boundary.
Nurse ran two to mid-wicket off the third but then fell to a catch at third man, scooping a low full toss into Ambati Rayudu’s lap.
Hope then scrambled two runs off the fifth delivery and with five needed off the last ball, sliced Umesh to the ropes, with a diving Rayudu just inches away from pulling off the save.
India captain Virat Kohli had earlier stroked his 37th ODI hundred and became the fastest batsman to 10 000 ODI runs, as India recovered from a dodgy start to reach 321 for six off their 50 overs.
Choosing to bat first, India were stuttering at 40 for two in the ninth over before the incomparable Kohli arrived to unfurl a magnificent unbeaten 157 off 129 balls, to clinch another Man-of-the-Match honour.
He was supported by Rayudu who made 73 while opener Shikhar Dhawan chimed in with 29.
West Indies struck early when veteran seamer Kemar Roach had the important wicket of first match century-maker, Rohit Sharma, caught by Hetmyer at point for four at 15 for one in the fourth over. Dhawan looked ominous in a near run-a-ball knock which included four fours and a six before falling lbw to Nurse (2-46) in the ninth over.
For the second straight match, Kohli snatched away any advantage the Windies sniffed, with another imperious display to follow up his equally stunning 140 in the opener in Guwahati four days ago.
The right-hander struck 12 fours and four sixes, reaching his half-century off 56 deliveries at the end of the 25th over before raising three figures off 106 deliveries with a searing cover drive off part-time off-spinner Marlon Samuels, off the last ball of the 44th over.
Kohli needed only another 22 balls to reach 150 as India plundered 100 runs off the last 10 overs.
The innings pivoted largely on a 139-run, third wicket stand between Kohli and Rayudu, who faced 80 deliveries and counted eight fours, with the partnership laying the groundwork for the final late assault.
Debutant 21-year-old left-arm pacer Obed McCoy finished with two for 71.
The Windies took up the challenge admirably, Kieran Powell (18) posting 36 off 37 balls for the first wicket with fellow left-hander Chandrapaul Hemraj (32) before holing out to mid-wicket off Shami.
Hemraj, who sparkled briefly with six fours in a 24-ball knock, put on a further 28 with Hope before going bowled between bat and pad by left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav (3-67) in the 10th over.
When veteran Marlon Samuels was upended by one from Kuldeep and bowled for 13 two overs later, West Indies were losing their way but Hetmyer arrived to stun the Indians for the second straight game.
The left-hander belted four fours and seven giant leg-side sixes, racing to his half-century off 41 balls in the 24th over, by lifting leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal over the ropes at mid-wicket for his fifth maximum.
A second consecutive hundred seemed a formality when against the run of play, Hetmyer top-edged a long hop from Chahal and was taken by Kohli close in at cover in the 31st over.
By then however, the required run rate had dropped to under six an over at 205 for three after 30 overs, and the Windies were in control.
Hope, reprieved by DRS after being adjudged lbw on 44 in the 27th over, completed his half-century off 64 deliveries before reaching his century off 113 balls in the 46th over.
Rovman Powell (18) never suggested permanence and fell in the 38th over and captain Jason Holder (12) added a vital 47 for the sixth wicket with Hope but his run out in the 48th over proved the turning point, with the pressure back on the Windies.