Skipper Virat Kohli hammered his second consecutive hundred to fashion India’s series-clinching victory against the West Indies here on Wednesday.
Chris Gayle smashed his way to a 72-run knock, leading the hosts to a competitive 240 for seven in the rain-curtailed match after they elected to bat.
Soon after his dismissal, the Indian players rushed towards Gayle, shaking hands with him. Kohli even performed a typical Gayle jig before the burly West Indian walked off.
Gayle, in his inimitable style, put his helmet on the top of his bat’s handle and lifted the bat in the air while walking off. Near the boundary ropes, he hurled the helmet in the air only to catch it back.
The gestures suggested that Gayle has played his last ODI.
India were set a stiff revised 255-run target on Duckworth-Lewis method but Kohli’s insatiable appetite for runs and young Shreyas Iyer’s assuring support to his skipper meant that it eventually turned out to be a comfortable six-wicket win which translated into a 2-0 series victory.
The counter-attacking 65-run knock by Iyer was game-changing as he took the pressure off his captain.
It was India’s ninth consecutive ODI series win, at home and away, over the West Indies.
Coming out to bat when India had lost opener Rohit Sharma (10), Kohli raised his 43rd ODI hundred and in the process crossed the phenomenal 20,000 runs mark in international cricket.
Kohli remained unbeaten on 114 and completed the win with back-to-back boundaries off Carlos Brathwaite.
His dominant knock came off 99 balls with 14 fours and the Indian captain now averages 60.31 in ODIs. Kohli had scored 120 in second ODI.
After Shikhar Dhawan (36) squandered a start, wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant showed that he is not learning from his mistakes as he was again guilty of playing a reckless shot, getting a first-ball duck.
In complete contrast, Iyer played smartly and with maturity to raise a crucial 120-run stand with Kohli for the fourth wicket, taking the team near the target. His knock came off 41 balls with five sixes and three boundaries.
When he was dismissed, India needed 43 more runs from 40 balls but Kedar Jadhav (19 not out) ensured there was no twist in the tale. He raised an unbeaten 44-run stand for the sixth wicket.