Chasing 323 runs for victory at Guwahati, India looked as if they had a fight on their hands for the first time against the touring-Windies who were belted in the test series prior to this match. Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli were quick to remind the tourists that they’d only completed half the task, that was the beginning of the end for the Windies as the pair pummelled their bowlers to all parts of the smallish-ground.
In just his thirteenth ODI, 21-year-old Windies future star Shimron Hetmyer registered his third century in his short-career which did wonders for the team’s confidence as they went onto make 322/8. Coming into this match, one of the major problems for the West Indies was their lack of scoreboard pressure coming into this ODI series. They were pitiful in the test series which saw the Indians hand them their biggest defeat in the history of the game between these two sides. The first ODI in Guwahati definitely looked a whole lot more promising from their perspective, opener Kieran Powell looked in good touch at the top of the order while the rest of the line-up managed to contribute a decent amount of runs to give them a more than respectable total. Powell’s fifty and Hetmyer’s century allowed the likes of Rovman Powell, Jason Holder and the two tail enders in Devendra Bishoo and Kemar Roach to add precious runs to the scoreboard at the conclusion of their innings. The Windies were able to see off Umesh Yadav who single-handedly destroyed them in the second test, but India’s tandem-spin combination of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja were able to break a handful of threatening partnerships which restricted them to a certain degree.
With runs on the board, the West Indies looked a small-chance to pull off a big upset in the opening match of the series in Guwahati. They themselves would’ve known full well that the job was far from done, India are a force to be reckoned with the bat on home soil which probably planted a seed of doubt before the chase even commenced. That seed of doubt may have been dug up after Oshane Thomas sent Shikhar Dhawan on his away after dragging one back onto his stumps at high speed. It was 1-10 in the second over, and all of a sudden the Windies looked up and about with India’s two most talented limited-overs batsmen at the crease.
It didn’t take long at all for the pair to start finding the boundary rope as Virat Kohli went head-to-head with Oshane Thomas and took him apart convincingly. After the wicket of Dhawan, the Indian skipper was out for revenge as he dispatched Thomas for five quick boundaries which unsteadied the big Windies fast bowler. There was a small period where the Windies appeared to stop the bleeding of boundaries, but Kohli had other ideas as he took on the spin of Bishoo which led to some powerful hitting from Rohit who struck back-to-back sixes not long after the Indian skipper had roughed him up with a couple of fours. Kohli brought up his 36th ODI century in just the 27th over as the Windies looked dumfounded by what was taking place around them. They simply couldn’t break the partnership, Kemar Roach was getting slaughtered and Ashley Nurse was proving to be too easy to pick with his gentle-offbreaks.
The carnage continued throughout the innings for the Windies as they persisted with the spin of Nurse, only to give Rohit an easy walk through the 90’s as he struck a six shortly followed by a boundary to bring up his century. It was the Kohli & Rohit show, and the Windies had front row seats! Virat was finally dismissed in the 33rd over, but the damage had well & truly already been done as he walked off to a roaring applause after scoring 140 off 107 balls. It was good news for the West Indies, but they still had Rohit at the crease who really did ramp things up a notch after the skipper got dismissed. The pair had put on a whopping partnership of 246 runs for the second-wicket, undoubtedly a decisive factor in this match.
With Kohli back in the sheds, the real Rohit Sharma came out to play as the Windies witnessed a whole new level of destruction as the Indian opener finished off Oshane Thomas once and for all. Coming down the wicket and smashing Bishoo right back over his head into the stands, that was enough to trigger a Rohit onslaught as the runs needed began to drop like flies. A final string of boundaries against Oshane Thomas who wasn’t far away from reaching his century with the ball all but sealed the game for India. Rohit ended the match in emphatic fashion as he lofted the ball over the long off boundary to win the game and bring up his 150 in style. With 47 balls remaining and eight wickets in hand, it was almost an effortless win by the Indians despite chasing a total of 300-plus.