Kohli century guides India to big victory

Virat Kohli racked up his 20th ODI hundred as India comfortably beat the visiting West Indies by 59 runs in the fourth One-Day International at Dharamsala.

The West Indies won the toss and sent the opposition into bat, as they looked to make early inroads.

The pitch had some pace, but the Windies bowlers weren’t really doing enough to exploit it.

Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan got off to a brisk start, going at over six an over until the latter was dismissed by Sulieman Benn for a run-a-ball 35 in the 12th over.

That brought Virat Kohli to the crease, and he and Rahane would add another 70 runs at a solid pace before Andre Russell struck to dismiss the opener in over No 27 for 68. They could have had their man earlier but Rahane was dropped with his total on 38, a simple chance at fine leg that should have been taken.

India were 142/2, and looking likely to compile a big total unless the visitors could somehow put on the brakes and get a few more wickets.

But Kohli and new partner Suresh Raina were having none of it. The duo combined for an impressive 138-run partnership that carried India all the way to the 45th over and a total of 280/3.

Their stroke play was impressive throughout, easily dispatching the Windies pacers, who insisted on bowling short but were causing little problems.

Raina was finally dismissed by Jerome Taylor while trying to guide the ball to third man for a well-played 71 off just 58 deliveries.

MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja were both dismissed cheaply, sacrificing their wickets for the cause at the death, but Kohli was able to march on to his 20th ODI hundred as the Indian total passed 300.

Kohli hammered a few more boundaries in the final overs to push the total to a formidable 330/6. He was run out off the final ball of the innings after choosing to run following a missed yorker, but his final tally of 127 off 114 balls had set the platform for a likely victory.

The West Indies response never really got going, and the Indians were rarely put under any real pressure in the field.

All the bowlers chipped in with wickers at regular intervals, frequently pinning the visitors back whenever they tried to break loose.

Dwayne Smith fell to Umesh Yadav in just the second over and Kieron Pollard couldn’t reach double figures before being dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the West Indies were reduced to 27/2.

The third wicker partnership revived the innings somewhat, as Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels briefly gave the men in red a glimmer of hope.

But Bravo was eventually dismissed for 40 in the 21st over, and Denesh Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo soon followed suit, leaving the West Indies on 121/5 in the 28th over, with a required run rate already pushing 10 an over.

All hopes now rested on Samuels, and the right-hander was doing his best to make a game of it. Supported by Darren Sammy and Andre Russell, he started going on the offensive, smashing the Indian bowlers around the park.

But Samuels gradually ran out of partners, and was soon saddled with the tail-enders as the wickets continued to tumble.

He would go on to make his century in the 46th over off just 97 balls, but by then the match was all but over as a contest, with the West Indies still needing 80 runs off less than 30 balls.

The innings finally came to an end in the 49th over with the score on 271 all out. Samuels tried for another big one off Mahammed Shami but missed and the ball crashed into the wickets, leaving the visitors still 59 runs short of the target.