It was expected to be a cracker of a contest, the final ODI between India and West Indies at Thiruvananthapuram. Windies had shown they could fight and India, who had won five successive ODI series at home, had been in a bit of a spot or two during the series.
And then, Windies came out with a shocking performance.
No, realistically speaking, West Indies winning even one match in the series was an achievement of its own. Especially without their main guys. No Chris Gayle, no Dwayne Bravo – who has since retired from international cricket – and no Andre Russell, Sunil Narine or Darren Bravo.
And yet, you expected them to put up a better fight than getting rolled over and losing the game in shorter time than a T20I gets played in these days.
West Indies, who had made a shocking call to bat first after winning the toss earlier, lost two wickets for two runs and any form of recovery from there on was going to be a rather tough one to achieve. Marlon Samuels showed some form after a shoddy series otherwise but once he had been done in by a ball that stopped on him, the rest of the side collapsed quite cheaply.
India’s biggest tormentors with the bat this series have been Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer but together, they scored just nine. Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav got enough bite from the surface to make it very tough for West Indies, and even more so given the moisture that remained on the pitch because of the overcast conditions.
The hosts needed just 14.5 overs to complete the win with nine wickets still standing.
Rohit Sharma, in fine fettle himself, hit a blazing half-century and Virat Kohli also remained unbeaten on 33. Shikhar Dhawan, who has had an underwhelming series by his own standards, fell early to Oshane Thomas, but the two chances that Rohit and Kohli did give weren’t taken by the Windies.
Thomas had Kohli edging one to the first slip and was dropped by Holder while Rohit’s catch was held by the keeper but the umpire called it a no-ball.
The big question on everyone’s lips, however, was why did Holder opt to field first on a surface that had bit of a moisture, in conditions where rain and dew were both expected and given how brilliantly India chase targets. Holder will be searching for that answer to go with the team he would like to play for the World Cup come May 2019.