In West Indies cricket. Even India ‘A’ pacer Jayadev Unadkat’s five-wicket burst could not stop West Indies ‘A’ — riding on Kirk Edwards’ fiery century — from inflicting a 45-run defeat on India ‘A’ as they clinched the three-match One-day series 2-1 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in the southern city of Bangalore in India on Thursday.
Edwards made a mockery of the Indian bowling to muscle his way to a run-a-ball 104 as Windies raced to a formidable 312 for nine in their 50 overs after being invited to bat on a surface that had some bounce.
India, despite lusty shot-making from opener Baba Aparajith (78) and skipper Yuvraj Singh (61), could only muster 267 for eight.
Edwards, the 28-year-old right-hander from Barbados was the chief architect of the win. He built the West Indian innings after openers Andre Fletcher (28) and Kieran Powell (40) failed to consolidate on their fine starts. Edwards went through a difficult phase early in his knock before hitting cruise mode.
Besides Edwards, Leon Johnson too played an important innings to bolster the visitors’ total, chipping in with a timely half-century (54 runs, 42b, 3×4, 1×6).
After the openers departed, Edwards along with last game’s centurion, Jonathan Carter (35), built a 66-run partnership for the third wicket before the latter failed to connect a sweep off offie Aparajith only to see the ball roll on to his stumps.
The combination of Edwards and Johnson then steadied the ship, stitching together 93 runs off 80 balls to power Windies to 238 before Unadkat snapped the alliance, ousting Johnson, for the first of his five victims.
The left-arm pacer had Johnson caught by Kedar Jhadav at covers. Unadkat then triggered a late collapse with quick wickets, accounting for the wickets of Edwards, Andre Russell (1), Devan Thomas (21) and Andre Nurse (10).
Left-arm spinner Shahbhaz Nadeem was the other bowler to impress. Besides accounting for the openers, the spinner made the batsmen toil for runs.
Once the openers departed, Edwards shouldered the responsibility of bolstering the innings. The Bajan gave a difficult chance at 47 but Mandeep Singh, attempting a sharp dive to his left, could only see the ball race to the ropes.
An elated West Indian skipper Kieran Powell said executing the strategy was the key in their series triumph. “After the first game, we watched the Indians and strategized around their game. We then executed it well,” he said at the post-match press conference.
Powell said Kirk Edwards played a crucial role. “Edwards gave himself a chance and played deep into the innings. That is what the team needed and he got it,” he said.
Powell said his team’s trip to India would augur well for West Indian cricket. “A lot of new players have come to India for the first time. The conditions in India are different and it is a different experience. The bowlers have bowled well and the batters have batted well.”