Windies skipper Jason Holder said he is ‘not too disheartened’ by his team’s performance despite the heavy loss in the first ODI against India.
Before the start of the game, Jason Holder had thrown a challenge towards his teammates – score 300-plus totals. Well, his teammates did not disappoint him. Led by Shimron Hetmyer’s stunning century, the Caribbean outfit piled up 322 for 8 in the allotted 50 overs.
Asked to bat first, Windies lost debutant Chandrapaul Hemraj forg just nine. However, Kieran Powell, who had an average of 12 in his past 12 innings, held firm from one end.
Powell began the proceedings with a fine cover drive off Mohammed Shami. On the other end, Shai Hope was struggling to get going. But Powell made sure that the scoreboard moves on with a healthy rate. He and Hope added 65 runs to lay the foundation for a good total. Powell reached his half-century in only 36 balls but threw his wicket away soon after. Looking to clear the boundary, he mistimed and holed out to Shikhar Dhawan at long on.
The breakthrough allowed India to tighten the grip for a while. Veteran batsman Marlon Samuels, playing his 200th ODI, was out for a two-ball duck. Hope also returned to the pavilion soon as West Indies were four down for 114. But from thereon, Hetmyer took the onus on himself to guide his side to a good total. The left-hander faced little trouble against the pacers as well as the spinners.
He shared fifty-plus stands with Rovman Powell and Jason Holder to steady the ship. It took Hetmyer only 41 balls to reach his fifty and 33 more balls to reach his 3rd century in 13 games. He eventually fell for 106 off just 78 balls. The knock contained 6 fours and as many sixes.
Devendra Bishoo and Kemar Roach then took the side past the 300-run mark with an unbeaten 43-run stand.
But little did Holder realise that even such a total will be too less to challenge the Indians in their own backyard. Riding on centuries from Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, India chased down 323 in just 42.1 overs to win the game by 8 wickets. Barring the loss of Shikhar Dhawan early in the innings, India never looked in trouble while chasing the daunting target. Kohli and Rohit added a record 246-run stand to bat Windies out of the game.
But despite the heavy loss, Jason Holder was pleased with the batsmen’s effort.
“I’m not too disheartened by the performance” said Jason Holder. “I thought the batters really put up their hands in this innings. Probably on this track, (we were) 20-30 runs short. Hopefully we can correct that in the next game and go a little deeper, especially guys who have gotten in. I was pleased to get at least 300 because we’ve been faulted in the past for not getting up to 300 and maybe not batted a lot of overs as well. So it was pleasing to see the guys apply themselves. We were losing wickets at crucial stages as you pointed out, but it was good that we batted out all the overs and we got past 300. I still think there are a lot of positives.”
Holder was all praise for Hetmyer who scored his third century in 13 ODIs.
“It (his knock) was outstanding. It was good to see him get back to form. He had a lean patch in the Test series and pretty innocuous dismissals as well, so it’s good to see him get a score on the board. He’s been doing pretty well in the limited-overs format for us so it’s good to see him put up his hand and score a hundred today. Hetty was quite aggressive. Fortunately for us it worked out and it was really good to see him get as deep as he could. Unfortunately at the stage he got out as though he could have gone a little further. But credit to the young player coming and scoring his third ODI century.
“It’s a game where you think with a team like India, you’re never quite sure what’s the par score. In hindsight, 320 was probably par score and we needed to kick on a little bit further. Inexperience did show, when we batted as well as when we bowled. In terms of bowling, we need to find ways to limit the run-flow and the best way is to pick wickets,” said Holder.