After some lengthy rain stops, India’s and West Indies’ third and final ODI at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad was reduced to a 35-over game, with India’s innings ending abruptly and the hosts a revised goal of 257 based on the DLS method. But what it also meant was that both teams now had to treat this as an extended T20 game. India captain Shikhar Dhawan certainly did that by using three different bowlers in the first three overs – two of them were spinners. And it also delivered the results as the West Indies were reduced to 3 for 2 at the end of the third over.
While Mohammed Siraj’s double wicket over after Deepak Hooda’s girl to begin with was certainly the pinnacle of cricketing skills, but perhaps the third over thrown by Axar Patel was the most entertaining, purely because of Sanju Samson’s chatter behind the stumps.
Not known for his sleds or unique words of encouragement from behind the stumps, Samson surprised many with his quirky comments in the third ODI. Whenever the India goalkeeper went to Hooda, Yuzvendra Chahal or Axar up to the stumps on Wednesday, he had more than a few things to say. Sometimes for the bowler, sometimes for the field players and most of the time they were quite funny.
But his suggestion to Axar Patel in the third crossing of the West Indian pursuit was arguably the best. When the left-spinner just threw a ball at Shai Hope, leaving room to free his arms—though the drive went straight to the fielder from the cover point—Samson quickly advised Axar to bowl into the stumps. “Chal Bapu abhi gilli pe wapas aja (Come on Axar go bowling at the stumps again)”, Simson shouted from behind the stumps.
Axar threw the next one much closer to the stump, gripping a little, getting a thick outer edge from Hopes’s bat and almost carrying in the slip to Dhawan.
Samson, who has captained Rajasthan Royals for the past few seasons, brought all his experience into play to help Dhawan with the field placements throughout the series.
The right-hander, who scored his first ODI in the second game, is flying back home as he is not part of the T20I squad.
India, meanwhile, won the final ODI comfortably by 119 runs via the DLS method to complete a 3-0 whitewash. The T20I five-game series kicks off on July 29.
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