Axar Patel hit India’s second-fastest ODI fifty against the West Indies, spearheading the visitors’ collective batting effort in a close chase of 312 in the second ODI.

As a result, despite dominating the most of their defence, the hosts suffered a defeat in the match – and with it, the series – despite Shai Hope’s century in his 100th ODI and Nicholas Pooran‘s aggressive 74.

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Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson also had half-centuries, but Axar’s undefeated 64 off 35 balls put the game out of reach in the final ten overs after Shubman Gill had 43 and Deepak Hooda had 33.

With five wickets in hand and Axar and Hooda at the crease, India needed 100 from 60 balls; Hooda left with 56 to get off 36, allowing Axar and Shardul Thakur to finish the job. Axar had already steamrolled three sixes by that point, with more on the way.

With 48 required off the final five overs, Alzarri Joseph gave up 16 – including two above-waist full-toss no-balls despite eliminating Thakur – and West Indies missed running No. 10 Avesh Khan out off the penultimate ball. Axar followed with two fours, and Avesh added another off Romario Shepherd. The equation was suddenly 19 off 18.

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Even if he leaked 54 runs in six overs on debut, Avesh would not depart without scoring. He hit 10 off 12 balls and asked Axar to bowl out the last eight runs with Mohammed Siraj. Axar, who was on fire, received a full toss from Kyle Mayers, which he blasted flying over the bowler’s head.

The pursuit was set up by Gill’s strong start and a 99-run stand between Iyer and Samson. Gill made up for Shikhar Dhawan’s difficulties with a calm 43 off 49 balls. When he and Suryakumar Yadav dropped in the space of 11 balls in the 18th over, India were 79 for 3.

Samson reached his maiden ODI fifty – his 54 from 51 balls contained three fours and three sixes – by volleying the spinners with high elbows and clearing the long-off boundary.

Iyer, on the other hand, had had a slow start, scoring 19 runs off his first 33 deliveries. He broke free at that point, finishing with 63 off 71 balls, cutting, pulling, and lifting balls for boundaries.

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Hope and Pooran’s fourth-wicket stand of 117, 74 of which came off Pooran’s bat, was responsible for India having as many as 312 to chase. Hope finished with 115 runs, his third triple-figure performance in 11 ODI innings.

Hope smashed back-to-back sixes off Yuzvendra Chahal (1-69) in the 45th over to reach 94 and cap a pricey day for the legspinner, off whom he took all three of his sixes.

But it wasn’t just Hope who liked Chahal; Pooran also hit three sixes, including two in the 39th over. Their partnership of less than a run-a-ball gradually snatched the advantage away from India, who had struck twice in quick succession following West Indies’ strong start.

The hosts have put up 71 in the first 10 overs thanks to Hope and his opening partner Mayers, their joint-highest score in the obligatory powerplay in ODIs since 2020.

Hooda had already hammered eight fours and a six by the time he broke through, scooping a straightforward return-catch from Mayers off the first ball of the tenth over. Mayers led the way in that stand, hitting 39 off 23 balls, while Avesh received the most punishment.

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Mayers timed and placed the ball perfectly, as well as banged it around. Pooran took over the attacking role after West Indies lost two wickets for three runs.

He smashed the first of his six sixes in the 32nd over, on 11 off his first 26 balls, when he went hard and flat over long-off; three overs later, he slid down to send Chahal hurtling back over his head. While Axar and Avesh both hit sixes, Hope kept the scoreboard rising at the opposite end.

Hope’s innings was divided into three parts: he began with 22 off 21 balls, followed by 73 off his following 103 deliveries, and finished with 20 off his next 11 balls. It all combined together to propel West Indies above the 300-run barrier.

To begin the day with Mayers, he produced magnificent drives and punches, as well as a four-ball poke through deep third, amassed singles and ran well alongside Pooran, then went for the trudge in the death overs after Pooran fell in the 44th over.

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Shamarh Brooks, Rovman Powell, and Shepherd all made appearances to boost West Indies’ cause. Brooks took advantage of Mayers’ injury and scored 35 points on 36 attempts; Powell and Shepherd added the final touches.

Despite the efforts of Pooran and Hope, particularly the latter, who got to fifty and hundred with a six, the day ultimately belonged to Axar and co.