India skipper Virat Kohli has admitted that his team was lucky to get away with a tie in the second ODI against the West Indies in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday (October 24).
Batting first, India posted a mammoth 321/6 in 50 overs courtesy Kohli’s 37th ODI ton (157*). In reply, the Windies rode on Shai Hope’s 123* and Shimron Hetmyer’s swashbuckling 94 to give the hosts a tough time. Needing 14 in the final over, the visitors ended up scoring 321 for 7 after Hope hit a boundary in the last delivery off Umesh Yadav.
"It was a great game of cricket. Credit to the Windies, they showed great fight. Especially in the second innings, after they were three down, Hetmyer and Hope stuck it out. They took on us and didn't give us any chance whatsoever," Kohli, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his record-breaking century, said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"The pitch was drastically different in the second innings. We were looking at 275-280 only, but I got going and we got those extra runs. We had a challenge in front of us today and luckily we got away with a tie and we'll take that at the end of the day," he added.
West Indies needed a solid platform up front to achieve this daunting target. However, they didn’t get one as openers Kieran Powell (18) and Chandrapaul Hemraj (32) failed to score big. At one point in time, the tourists were reeling at 78/3 in 12 overs before the duo of Hetmyer and Hope added 143 runs for the fourth wicket.
"When the run rate fell under 6 I thought they had good chance but Kuldeep (Yadav) got a wicket, (Yuzvendra) Chahal bowled a brilliant over and Umesh (Yadav)and (Mohammed) Shami closed it out. The game nicely drifted in the last 7 overs and one boundary off Umesh off the shoe and one in the end, a couple of inches from Rayudu from pulling it in. That's how the game goes. I've enjoyed being a part of it and West Indies certainly deserved a draw for the way they played," Kohli asserted.
The Indian captain also revealed that his decision to bat first after winning the toss was pre-planned.
"It's something we decided pre-game, it was hot and humid. In big tournaments like in world cup, you might have to put runs on the board and defend. We have to embrace every challenge that comes our way," he said.
Virat was in full of praise for Ambati Rayudu, who scored an 80-ball 73.
"Rayudu was really professional. He is someone we are looking at as a permanent number four. He plays spin well, he plays pace well, he's in good momentum, in good form," the Indian captain concluded.
On the other hand, West Indies skipper Jason Holder rued his run out and the fall of Hetmyer’s wicket at a crucial juncture of the match.
"I guess the run-out of myself. And the wicket of Hetmyer as well, he was the set batsman, they were getting runs easy," Holder said.
"We said at the beginning of the innings that one of our top four had to go on and bat till the end. Good on Shai to do that. India got a par score. Before coming here, we knew we should be hitting that mark over and over. I thought our bowlers tried. But we were a bit sloppy in the field," he further added.
Holder congratulated Kohli for his 10,000 runs and also praised Hope for his 123-run innings.
"Really good game of cricket. Two outstanding knocks, Virat played a brilliant knock and congrats to him on the milestone. Shai Hope though, young player, scoring a century like that in a high-pressure game," he said.
"Hetty was upset that he got out in a crucial stage and we had a very good chance and it was very good to see Shai bat till the end. I thought it was around par, and it's very good to see that we had two consistent games in a row. Obviously, we could have picked a few more wickets in the middle overs," Holder concluded.
(With PTI inputs)