West Indian skipper Darren Sammy's observation that his team "is just around the corner" is proving to be a little far fetched. The West Indians are slipping, then fighting back and even getting close to victory in the ongoing ODI series but are then running out of ideas. They simply don't know how to seal it.
On Friday, at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA stadium, India were stunned by a lethal counter-attack by West Indies' No. 10 batsman Ravi Rampaul but they recovered in the rain-hit tie to score a five-wicket win and take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Chasing 269, the hosts finished with 270/5 with 11 balls to spare. What was heartening for Team India was that the architects of the win were the Young Turks. While the Top Guns - Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir - failed to impress, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma showed that the future of Indian cricket is safe in their willows.
Coming together at 84/3, the duo made sure that there were no Cuttack-like hiccups or a close nail-biting finish by stringing together a 163-run partnership for the fourth wicket that snuffed out the Windies challenge.
Kohli enhanced his credentials by notching up his second century at the venue. The Delhi batsman was hardly in trouble as he stroked 14 boundaries in his 123-ball 117 but will be unhappy with his dismissal.
Rohit, who made a match-winning 72 in the previous game but rued the fact that he was not in the middle to finish the game, showed that he is a quick learner. The Mumbaikar, who delighted his mother's hometown fans with a splendid stroke-filled unbeaten 90 (98b; 7x4, 2x6), was in superb touch from the word go. His timing was near perfect and shot selection was above reproach. More importantly, he was at the wicket when the winning runs were scored by Ravindra Jadeja (9 not out).
If the evening session was sans much drama, the first session didn't have a dull moment as fortunes swung to and fro. Sammy was expecting one of his frontline batsmen to take up the challenge and give his side a defendable total but at 170/9, all his dreams once again lay shattered and the visitors looked headed for a huge defeat.
However, the skipper's call was answered by the most unlikely candidate. No. 10 bat Ravi Rampaul threw caution to wind as he smashed career-best unbeaten 86 (66 balls, 6x4, 6x6) to take his side to 269/9.
The 27-year-old Rampaul, who is known for his exploits with the cherry, chose to display his repertoire of shots as he took the attack to the Indian bowlers, who till that time were in control of the game.
Rampaul, whose earlier best was an unbeaten 26 against Zimbabwe in 2007, shepherded last man Kemar Roach as they strung together an impressive unbeaten 99-run partnership for the last wicket. Rampaul's contribution being 71 while Roach, who too deserves all praise for sticking with his senior partner, remained unbeaten on 24 (36; 3x4).
The left-handed batsman, who has a total of 199 runs in his previous 62 matches with an average of 9.47, got the record of the highest scorer by a No. 10 batsman in ODIs. The previous best was 73 not out by Mohd Aamer of Pakistan against New Zealand in 2009.
Opener Lendl Simmons laid the foundation for the total with a workmanlike 78 (102b, 8x4, 1x6) and Kieron Pollard breathed fire and brimstones in his 30-ball 35 which contained three fours and two sixes.