Windies head coach Stuart Law attributed his side’s defeat to India in the second ODI to a tame bowling effort. India racked up 310 for 5 in 43 overs with each of the top-three – Shikhar Dhawan (63), Ajinkya Rahane (103) and Virat Kohli (87) – notching up fifty-plus scores with relative ease before the pressure of a steep run chase proved to be the undoing of an inexperienced West Indies batting line-up.
Incidentally, the hosts had elected to field after early morning showers had left the pitch damp and conducive for an early crack from one of the fast men. Ultimately, the wicket proved to be benign but the new-ball pairing of Alzarri Joseph and captain Jason Holder didn’t help the team’s cause with their lengths – overcompensating for overly short deliveries with ‘drive-me’ full ones. Even the usually-disciplined leggie Devendra Bishoo struggled with his lengths and was regularly picked off by a free-flowing Rahane in a century opening stand for India.
“We didn’t bowl anywhere near as well as we could’ve done and that’s probably the first time that’s happened since I’ve been here so you can live with that to a certain extent,” Law told reporters following the 105-run defeat. “But you’ve got to be better than that with the ball. The way we started, the way we set the tone for our innings wasn’t how we wanted to do it and I think at times our plans didn’t quite work out.”
Windies’ bowling indiscipline was aptly summed by captain Holder bowling three beamers and a front-foot no-ball in his final two overs, allowing India to cross the 300-run mark – for the 96th time in ODI history – even in a 43-over contest. Ninety-nine of those runs came in the final nine overs, underscoring the hosts’ apathy with the ball. Law, however, believes recent performances, particularly in the series against Champions Trophy winners Pakistan, offer an indication that Windies can put on an improved show in the remaining three matches of this competition.
“We’ve got to understand that India are number three in the world for a reason and they’ve ben hovering around that top three for quite a while now,” Law explained. “They’ve got some of the best players, if not the best players in the world up there so we know that we’ve got to play really well and compete really hard to get anything out of these games but there is no reason why we can’t.
“We pushed Pakistan all the way when they were out here recently. We beat them chasing down 308 in the first ODI and in the last two we nearly got over the line as well so those performances are in us,” he added.
Opener Shai Hope’s 81 in the chase was a lone bright spot in an otherwise abject performance for the hosts. But the Windies never quite recovered from a position of 4 for 2 in the third over, to end on a 205 for six off their allotted overs. Law, now in his fourth series with the side after taking over earlier this year, said the experience gained in the defeat would be beneficial to the young team.
“Some of our boys haven’t played a lot of international cricket so to get some time in the middle against some quality bowlers is good for their confidence,” the Australian pointed out. “When we batted I thought Shai Hope played extremely well.
“We’re lacking a little bit of something, a little bit of edge with our bowling and with our batting we are not quite getting off to good starts consistently.”