Prasidh Krishna rocks the Windies as India seal ODI series win | locust
One of the things that any solid structure looks for is the contribution of fringe players to the success of the team. They may not always find a place in the strongest eleven, but evoke a quiet confidence in the leadership of the team if they deliver when called upon. Pacer Prasidh Krishna offered that on Wednesday, producing excellent numbers of 9-3-12-4 to help India successfully defend 237 in the second ODI against West Indies in Ahmedabad, bolstering their depth in pace bowling.
Krishna’s effort – in his sixth ODI – sealed a 44-point win, giving India an unassailable 2-0 series lead with one game to play. He was named Player of the Match.
While the West Indies lower order put up some resistance to take them to 193 after being 117/6, Krishna capped his display with the final wicket of Kemar Roach.
Halfway through, India’s road to victory seemed far from straightforward. They had only managed to score 237, largely thanks to contributions from Suryakumar Yadav (64) and KL Rahul (49), who struck at No. 4 with Rishabh Pant tested as the opener. They assembled a stand of 91 for the fourth wicket.
It might not have been enough without India’s comprehensive bowling effort led by Krishna. After taking the new ball in the opener, Krishna was only brought on the attack in the eighth in that span. If it was a demotion, it didn’t bother the 25-year-old Karnataka bowler. He hit his third delivery, bouncing the ball a little higher than Brandon King had expected. Everything the fly-half managed was an outside advantage for Pant.
Krishna also positioned himself with impeccable line and length against southpaws, leaving Darren Bravo and substitute skipper Nicholas Pooran with little choice but to fall behind. Bravo was caught by Pant while Pooran’s edge was caught by Rohit Sharma on the first slip.
Jason Holder also went down early, piercing deep square leg Deepak Hooda after failing to control a pull against Shardul Thakur.
Footer Yuzvendra Chahal again played beautifully, reaping the benefits of an spin-friendly surface to return numbers of 10-0-45-1. India were in second place this time around, and dew on a hot Ahmedabad evening, eliminating spinners from the equation, was always a factor. This didn’t impact the effectiveness of the leggie at all.
Indian bowling made up for the uneven effort with the bat. When Rahul and Yadav met, neither had faced a ball. At 43/3 after 12 overs, the run rate was well below par. The next eight overs yielded just 25 runs, but it was more important that they didn’t lose a wicket at this stage.
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Rahul finally broke free in the 21st, welcoming the introduction of the spin by firing a ranged short ball from left arm spinner Akeal Hosein over the midwicket boundary. Alzarri Joseph batted Yadav a few times, but then Rahul started. He fired Hosein again for four through the midwicket in the 25th before hitting dressmaker Odean Smith for successive boundaries on the next course. The highlight, however, was Rahul jumping onto the track and smashing a full Hosein delivery over his head for six.
After doing all the hard work, Rahul’s innings ended when he got exhausted in a bit of a weird way. He hit the ball to the outfielder at deep coverage and was on the verge of returning to the forward end for two. Yadav answered the call, but Rahul momentarily stopped in round two. This fraction of a second of uncertainty cost him.
Yadav hit his half-century in a 43-run stand for the fifth wicket with Washington Sundar. He didn’t kick either. A top edge from a sweep against Fabian Allen was taken by short-legged and thin Joseph.
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It could have been much worse for India after losing Sharma, Pant and Virat Kohli cheaply. While India’s promotion of Pant to the top of the order suggested the right intention, the hitters struggled early on. Sharma was dismissed for 5, a half-hearted push on a short Roach delivery past wicketkeeper Shai Hope.
Pant was vigilant against Roach and Joseph. He left quite a few balls alone as his timing was off with some of his drives. His three boundaries all came out short balls until Odean Smith’s brisk pace took him by surprise. Smith’s portly appearance and short run don’t give you an idea of the speeds he can reach. The first ball from the 12th sent Pant down, missing a pull to Holder near the square leg area. Smith wasn’t done yet. In the same inning, he prompted Kohli to practice off the stump to fire him for 18.