Antigua, the slow pitch where India toiled without returns against host, West Indies. This pitch will be remembered as the one where MS Dhoni knocked India’s slowest half century in 16 years, 54 off 114. There was only a single boundary, a lone four, in his inning. The result with such sluggishness was as anticipated. India could not chase the score of 189, surrendering the fourth ODI of the series to West Indies by 11 runs. India was all out in 49.4 overs scoring 168 and 10 extras to add.
The match did not seem too hard at the beginning. India bowlers clearly outpaced West Indies batsmen in the first inning. The opening partnership between Kyle Hope and Evin Lewis lasted 17.2 overs until the former was removed. But the stretch could trickle down only 57 runs. There was some momentum for a couple of overs as Lewis reached 35, ending his stretch to Kuldeep Yadav, but the next 10 overs partnership between Roston Chase and Shai Hope slowed down the momentum again. By 32nd over, West Indies reached 121, with the Chase-Hope stretch bringing 31 runs. In the inning, Umesh Yadav and Hardik Pandya knocked down three wickets each in an economy of 3.6 and 4. Yadav removed the middle order while West Indies scored around 40 runs in the last 18 overs.
Dominating the first half, India came up to bat with good confidence. However, West Indies bowlers conjured such a use of Antigua’s slow pitch that Kohli’s squad had nothing but frustration in the chase. The start itself was threatening. By the end of six overs, India was 25 for 2, with top batsman Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli returning to pavilion adding 5 and 3 respectively. Dinesh Karthick was on the pitch for another six overs to score 2 runs off 19 balls. The chase rested only when Rahane and Dhoni partnered for a slow stretch of about 18 overs. Rahane scratched out 60 off 91 balls playing cautiously until Devendra Bishoo removed him. India’s score was 101 for 4.
In the next stretch, Dhoni partnered with the middle order as they fell one after another. After 45 overs, the team reached 159 for 5. Hardik Pandya knocked a six and a four scoring 20 off 21, while Ravindra Jadeja added and 11-ball-11. The match could have ended otherwise, if the momentum was hold on to. But as the players were gone, the chase stranded in the last three overs. It was where audience looked on for Dhoni as the ultimate finisher. But a mistimed shot off Williams sent his wicket direct to Alzarri Joseph, with hopes of India being washed away. India required 14 off 12 balls with three wickets, the bowlers, in hand. But Jason Holder came up with his attack to scalp the tail. He removed the last four wickets including that of Pandya and Jadeja. The result, India lost the match to West Indies.
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