Rohit Sharma has started his full-time ODI captaincy stint with an emphatic 3-0 white-wash over the West Indies. India won the third ODI on Friday in Ahmedabad by 96 runs after having set the target of 266.
However, similar to the second ODI, the West Indies pacers had chiselled out the India top-order. But once again the middle- and lower-middle order bailed the side out – this time even better putting up a bigger total than the previous game – and gave the bowlers a sizeable total to defend which they succeeded in.
Sharma said that the ability of the middle-order and lower-order batters to bail the team out of early trouble and take them to a good total in the second and the third ODI was his biggest takeaway from this series.
“That was the biggest takeway for us – the middle-order batting. Today was again a great game for the middle order. We were 40/3. For me, that’s the biggest takeaway,” Rohit Sharma said at the post-match press conference.
In the third ODI, West Indies had India at 42/3 with the top three of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan back in the pavilion. Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant joined hands to forge a 110-run stand in which Pant was the aggressor, scoring 56 off 54 balls, while Iyer played the second fiddle, on his way to a 70-ball 50; Pant looked more settled and comfortable of the two but couldn’t convert his fifty into a big score.
Iyer then got out for 80 off 111 balls while seeing both Pant and Suryakumar Yadav get out. Washington Sundar and Deepak Chahar though played handy cameos of 33 and 38 respectively to take India to 265.
In the second ODI as well, India were in trouble at 43/3, before KL Rahul‘s 49 and Suryakumar’s 64, along with Sundar’s 24 and Deepak Hooda’s 29 took them to 237, which the West Indies fell 44 short of.
Before the series, Rohit Sharma had emphasised preparing the team for this kind of situation – a position in which they had faltered during the 2019 World Cup semi-final – when they lose early wickets. Sharma was a pleased captain after the showing of the middle-order in the series.
Both the teams next clash in the T20I series starting Wednesday in Kolkata.