India captain Virat Kohli hailed his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni for once again stepping up when the team needed him the most. Dhoni and the bowlers fashioned India's 93-run win over a lacklustre West Indies in the third ODI, giving the visitors an unassailable lead in the five-match series in Antigua. India overcame a bad start to post 251 for four on a slowish surface, largely due to the efforts of Dhoni (78* off 79), Kedar Jadhav (40 no off 26) and Ajinkya Rahane (72 off 112). The Indian bowlers then proved too good for the inexperienced West Indies' batting line-up, dismissing the hosts for 158 in 38.1 overs. (Match Scorecard)
"I think it was a very clinical performance. Early on there was quite a bit of moisture on the wicket. It was really a good toss for them to win and they bowled really well upfront.
"Ajinkya batted well and Yuvi's 40-odd (39) were really important runs. MS at the end along with Kedar finished it really well. We thought 250 was a very competitive total. The bowlers bowled really well despite the wicket being better in the second innings. When we needed the wickets, the two spinners stepped up," Kohli said after the match.
Earlier, the Indian batsmen found the run-scoring tough before Rahane and Dhoni took India past the 250-run mark. Jadhav too played his part well while batting alongside Dhoni as India amassed 100 off the last 60 balls.
India were 100/3 in the 27th over after being put in to bat by West Indies captain Jason Holder on a pitch where there was moisture due to overnight rain. The wicket offered spongy bounce early on and its slowness made batting difficult. The heavy rain on Thursday night also made the outfield slow.
However, Dhoni took the innings forward after Rahane perished to a spectacular running catch from Bishoo in the deep, making it 170/4 in 42.2 overs. The onus was on Dhoni to provide the final flourish and he did that in his trademark style. He completed his 63rd ODI half century with a single. The former India captain had hit only three fours until then but need of the hour was the big hits from his bat. He finally cut loose in the 47th over, smashing Holder for consecutive sixes, one over the bowler's head and the other over square leg after picking it from outside off. Jadhav too supported him well in the death overs, smashing four boundaries and a six.
"When we needed the runs, MS (Dhoni) again finished the innings along with Kedar. Rahane at the top of the order and Yuvi as well. Individuals will hardly win you games. It is important to raise your hands and perform. We have quite a few players who have not got a game. It is important to have a look at them and figure out where they stand in pressure situations," Kohli concluded.