After suffering a 43-run defeat at the hands of Windies in the third One-Day International, Indian captain Virat Kohli said they shouldn't have allowed the Jason Holder-led to score more than 250-260 runs after having them down at 227 for 8. The visiting side managed to set up a competitive target of 284 runs and then bowled India out for 240 despite Kohli's brilliant 107.
"We bowled pretty well. I think the wicket was not offering much in the first 35 overs. Later half it became difficult," said Kohli at the post-match presentation ceremony. "From 227 for 8 we should have been chasing 250-260 at the maximum. The bowling effort was professional just that we give it away in the last 10 overs."
In reply, Kohli smashed his third century of the series in as many matches and became the first Indian to score tons in three consecutive ODI innings. He, however, found no support from the other end and that allowed Windies to clinch their first win of the tour.
"It was a pretty gettable total. We did not get the partnerships going, that does not happen too often. In the field we were fine. We didn't execute our plans to perfection. This Windies side is an explosive side and they can beat any team on a given day," said Kohli. "Definitely, we have to take the wins and losses in our stride, was just a bad day at the office. Just shake the loss away. Our plans are in place and we just need to execute better."
India went without Ravindra Jadeja in this match and played five frontline bowlers. Kohli said it's difficult to get the balance right in the absence of all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav. India, however, will have the option of availing the services of Jadhav in the final two ODIs.
"Look when Hardik and Kedar both play, we get the extra option. When someone like Hardik is not playing, who gives you both bowling and batting option, it is difficult to get the balance. Kedar comes into the side in the next game, that'll give us the balance and depth in the batting. You will always drift to one side when you don't have the balance. We have to think about the perfect balance we need." explained Kohli.
Windies skipper Holder, who got rid of Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni, now wants his team to be more consistent if they have to beat top teams on a regular basis.
"Credit to the boys. We hung in the game for as long as possible. We did really well to get to the 280-run mark. It was important for me to stay out there but that didn't happen. I should have batted deeper. Something to learn there. We hung in there," said Holder, who scored 32 runs. "They were probably a batter short. We knew if we remove Dhoni, we could get in to their lower order and put pressure on them."
"The guys are learning better. We still need to touch up on few things and need to be consistent. We need to buck up a lot more and pay a lot more attention to it. If you want to beat the best teams, you have to be consistent in all aspects of the game, all the three departments."
Holder had nothing but praise for Ashley Nurse who chipped in with both bat and ball. After scoring a breezy 22-ball 40 to provide Windies that late surge, Nurse also picked up two key wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant. "He is a competitor. I know what to expect from him. He keeps it tight and gives us wickets at regular intervals," praised Holder.
Nurse, who was awarded Man of the Match for his performance, felt it was his day to be the hero.
"I guess it was my day. I guess I played with a lot of free spirit. When Shai (Hope) got out, I had to do something because the score was not that big. Sometimes you can be the hero, sometimes it can go down to zero as well. If I get a 50-50 chance to win the game, I back myself to do it."
Windies wouldn't even have been able to put up a decent total if not for Hope's 113-ball 95. It was Hope who helped Windies to tie the second ODI, and now backed it with a yet another solid performance. Hope said he is happy with the fact that he has been able to deliver consistently.
"I am becoming more consistent, so I am pleased. We lost wickets at some crucial stages so I had to put up my hand up and bat through the innings. My aim was to bat as deep as possible. My preparation is same. I haven't changed anything from the Test series."
However, things could have been different if Marlon Samuels wouldn't have knocked over Kohli in the 42nd over. The 37-year-old said this victory will boost their morale and they will now look to win the remaing matches rather than just compete.
"We are playing as a unit and we are getting stronger and stronger. For me to sit in the dressing room and watch Shai Hope bat in the way he's been batting, we have been having a lot of discussion on how to bat on the Indian tracks, is wonderful. He is definitely one for the future. He's (Hetmyer) fearless. He is brave, he has to get consistent. Very important going into the next game 1-1, we wouldn't want to go 2-0. We will take the next game even more seriously and as long as we are good in all three departments we will be good. We are looking to win and not only compete," said Samuels, who returned figures of 3 for 12.