With the three-match series level at 1-1, India went on to hammer the Windies by 200 runs in the third ODI to clinch the series 2-1, thanks to a collective all-round effort that saw the visitors putting up a huge total of 351/5 on the board and then bowling out the hosts for just 151.
Opener Shubman Gill emerged as the top scorer for India with an impressive 85 runs off 92 balls. Ishan Kishan also played a fine innings, contributing 77 runs to the team’s total off 64 balls. The two openers added 143 runs together.
Stand-in captain Hardik Pandya showcased his fiery batting with an unbeaten 70 off 52 balls, while Sanju Samson added a valuable and swift 51 off 41 balls.
Shardul Thakur then led India’s bowling effort with a spell of 4/37. Mukesh Kumar was equally impressive with his 3/30, while spinner Kuldeep Yadav bagged 2/25 and Jaydav Unadkat 1/16.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Pandya said, “It’s a special win. To be honest, I look forward to these kind of games as a captain where there is something on the line. This was more than an international game. Weknew what was at stake and there would have been a lot of disappointment if we lost.
“The boys showed great character. They enjoyed it as well. In pressure situations it’s important to enjoy.”
Pandya also shared the fact that Virat Kohli advised him before the match on his batting.
“I took it deep intentionally, wanted to have some time out in the middle. Had a great chat with Virat before the game, he wanted me to spend some time out in the middle and get used to the 50-over format. Really thankful for him to share that experience with me,” Pandya said.
“Once you hit one ball and get into rhythm, things are very different. The ball was doing just a bit. Scoring 350 was always crucial. When you have a total like that, batters chase the ball and if the luck is one your side, the batters will nick it. Couple of really good catches by Gill,” he added.
India rested regular skipper Rohit Sharma and batting mainstay Kohli for a second consecutive game in the series.
“Virat and Rohit are integral parts of the team, but it was important to rest them so that people like Ruturaj Gaikwad could get a chance,” added Pandya. “It’s about giving opportunities to the youngsters.”
West Indies lost three wickets in the first powerplay, as Mukesh dismissed openers Brandon King (0), Kyle Mayers (4) and Shai Hope (5) to make it 17/3 in 6.3 overs. It led to a collapse, and the hosts slipped to 88/8 by the 24th over.
“The game was kind of over in the powerplay itself,” said Pandya.
Pandya also urged the West Indies cricket board to ramp up “basic necessities” and address travel-related logistical issues.
“Things can be better when we come to West Indies the next time, things like travel. Hopefully the West Indies cricket board can take note and ensure that there are no hiccups. We don’t ask for luxury, but we need some basic necessities taken care of,” said Pandya.