India banked on a massive partnership between Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer and then a clinical effort from the bowlers to go 1-0 up in the three-match series against West India in Trinidad. The win ensured that the Men in Blues will have no chance to lose the series after a washout in the first ODI. Meanwhile, Iyer’s matured knock compelled Sunil Gavaskar to back him ahead of Rishabh Pant in the batting order.
Batting first, a 125-run partnership between Kohli and Shreyas Iyer propelled India to 279 runs at the end of 50 overs. While Kohli registered his 42nd ODI ton, Iyer played a valuable hand of 71 runs before West Indies made a strong comeback in the death overs to restrict the visitors under 280. While it looked like a chaseable total, Bhuvneshwar Kumar wreaked havoc in the middle order picking four wickets to seal the tie for his side. Evin Lewis and Nicholas Pooran tried their best, but the Indian bowlers emerged on top.
Meanwhile, speaking at the toss, skipper Virat Kohli emphasised on sending Rishabh Pant at four ahead of Iyer. But the young wicket-keeper batsman has failed to offer responsibility and has thrown his wickets playing rash shots every single time. And with Iyer grabbing his opportunity with both hands, Sunil Gavaskar has disagreed with Kohli saying that the Mumbai batsman should bat at four for India.
“In my view, Rishabh Pant is much better like an MS Dhoni at 5 for 6 as a finisher because that’s where his natural game and natural flair will come into play. If India get to a great start with Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma batting for 40-45 overs, then Pant at No. 4. But if it’s a question of batting for 30-35 overs, then I think it should be Shreyas Iyer at No. 4 and Pant at No. 5,” Sunil Gavaskar told Sony Ten 1.
Furthermore, Sunil Gavaskar opined that Shreyas Iyer has grabbed his opportunity to the fullest. He also said that it was a good learning curve for young Iyer batting alongside skipper Virat Kohli. Gavaskar also said that this innings should help Shreyas Iyer get a long run in ODI cricket. The former India skipper also added Iyer had done nothing wrong to be out of the World Cup squad.
“I think, if this doesn’t help him get a more permanent slot in the Indian middle-order, I don’t know what will. In the 5 matches, he played before this, he scored 2 fifties and hit a highest score of 88. He hadn’t done anything wrong to be left out of the 14 (15) (World Cup). But that’s in the past,” Gavaskar said. “Now he has come back and scored a 71 in his first opportunity. So I think he will get a longer run,” Gavaskar concluded.