Hope's heroics and other takeaways as tie overshadows Kohli's record-breaking day

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West Indies will bat first in the series decider. Image -ICC/Twitter.

In a thrilling match at Vishakapatnam (Vizag), a tie in the end was ultimately a fair result in the second ODI between India and the West Indies.

India put up a daunting 321-6 on the board after electing to bat first on a slow surface before the visitors responded in equal measure to tie the scores off the last ball of the match.

On a day where multiple records were broken, mainly by India skipper Virat Kohli, it was the Windies who won hearts with their fearless approach. Here, we take a look at the talking points after an extraordinary ODI at Vizag.

KOHLI DELIGHTS WITH BACK-TO-BACK TONS IN RECORD BREAKING INNINGS

The spotlight on Wednesday was always going to be on Virat Kohli with the Indian skipper lying on the verge of breaching the 10,000-run barrier. He did not disappoint as he slammed his second consecutive ODI ton.

Coming in to bat in the fourth over after Rohit Sharma’s dismissal, Kohli continued from where he left off at Guwahati with another well-constructed innings. The right-hander took his time to get into full flow but once he did, he was an unstoppable force on the slow Vizag pitch.

The Indian skipper became the fastest man to record 10,000 ODI runs in the process of smashing his 37th hundred in the format. He struck four big sixes for good measure too in the death overs as he finished unbeaten on a 129-ball 157. It was Kohli’s brisk hitting towards the death that took India’s total beyond 300 as he continued his extraordinary 2018 with the bat.

RAYUDU SHINES BUT INDIAN MIDDLE-ORDER STILL DISAPPOINTS

With India’s openers falling inside the first 10 overs, it was finally an opportunity for the middle-order to get some substantial time on the crease. Ambati Rayudu had been backed by Kohli before the series to tie down the number spot in the batting order and the right-hander showed why as he forged a 139-run stand with the skipper for the third wicket.

Rayudu was looking good for a ton after crossing his half-century but he ultimately perished for a 80-ball 73 as he attempted a wild slog towards the on-side. While Rayudu was good, India’s remaining middle-order batsmen failed to live up to expectations once again. MS Dhoni’s dismal 2018 with the bat continued with the veteran wicketkeeper batsman being bowled for 20 to debutant Obed McCoy.

Rishabh Pant’s maiden ODI innings was only a brief affair with the youngster perishing for 13 in the pursuit of quick runs. While Rayudu showed plenty of promise and Pant can be excused for going for quick runs at the death, Dhoni’s poor form remains an elephant in India’s middle-order.

Dhoni's batting powers continue to wane.

Dhoni’s batting powers continue to wane.

SHAI HOPE, HETMYER RISE TO THE TASK AS WINDIES STUN INDIA

Following Kohli’s record-breaking innings, another runaway India victory seemed to be on the cards given how hapless Windies have been in recent times. However, the visitors were in the mood from the very start of their innings. Openers Kieran Powell and Chanderpaul Hemraj both departed after quick-fire starts before Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer took on the mantle. While the former was more circumspect in his approach, the latter threw caution to the winds with another whirlwind innings similar to the one he had played in Guwahati.

Hetmyer once again dealt primarily in sixes as India’s three-man spin attack became his prime target. Having smashed seven sixes and a boundary, the 21-year-old was looking good for back-to-back tons before he holed out to Kohli for a 64-ball 94.

At the other end, Hope kept up his march despite the loss of Hetmyer with Windies bringing down the required-rate to less than run-a-ball. The 24-year-old brought up his second ODI ton in the company of skipper Jason Holder and showed a matured and calm head on his shoulders in the death overs.

However, the Windies have only themselves to blame in the end for the draw despite requiring just 27 off the last four overs with four wickets in hand. A needless run-out saw Holder run-out at a crucial juncture as the tide turned dramatically with a flurry of dot balls post the dismissal. The equation came down to 14 required off six before Ashley Nurse brought it down to seven off two. Hope stole a double off the penultimate delivery before striking a boundary off the last to steal a dramatic tie.

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