Shardul Thakur is not someone who is well known for his batting on the global stage but on Sunday, it was his six-ball 17 which played a major role in guiding India to victory against West Indies in the third ODI encounter in Cuttack. The innings from Thakur comprised of two fours and one six with one of the boundaries earning huge praise from skipper Virat Kohli. The lower order batsman slammed Sheldon Cottrell for a brilliant four through the mid-wicket region and Kohli was seen celebrating wildly in the dugout as India inched towards victory.
The innings impressed Kohli to such an extent that he even tweeted a message for Thakur in Marathi. Kohli tweeted: “Tula maanla re Thakur”, which translates to “hats off to you Thakur”.
Kohli smashed 85 to help India pull off a nervous chase of 316 to win the third ODI match by four wickets.
India relied on a key 58-run sixth-wicket stand between Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja, unbeaten on 39 off 31 balls, to achieve their target with eight balls to spare in Cuttack. Paceman Keemo Paul claimed three wickets, including that of Kohli in the 47th over, before Jadeja and Shardul Thakur, 17 not out, took the team home and to a 2-1 series win.
“Having done it so many times, you obviously have a bit more calmness and you understand how the dew is playing and all you need is a short partnership,” said Kohli, who was named man of the match.
“It was outstanding to see others finishing the game. I had a nervous look when I walked back, but when I watched ‘Jaddu’ (Jadeja) he looked very confident.”
Rohit Sharma, who made 63, and KL Rahul, on 77, laid the foundation of the team’s chase with an opening partnership of 122 after the West Indies posted 315 for five.
West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard and Nicholas Pooran put together 135 runs for the fifth wicket to lift their side from 144 for four to a fighting total.
Pollard remained unbeaten on 74 off 51 deliveries after Pooran hit an attacking 89 to pulverise the Indian bowling in the last 10 overs that produced 118 runs for the West Indies.
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