‘It’s just more intent’ – Romario Shepherd makes a striking impression

Shai Hope led from the front as West Indies beat India by six wickets in the second ODI at Barbados to get back on level terms in the three-match series.

The Windies skipper scored an unbeaten 63 off 80 balls, while Keacy Carty chipped in with a crucial 48* off 65 balls to help West Indies complete the 182 chase in 36.4 overs.

Earlier, Shardul Thakur scalped three, while Kuldeep Yadav picked one wicket to raise India’s hope in the low scoring encounter. West Indies were equally impressive with the ball as they folded India for 181 in 40.5 overs after opting to field.

Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan placed India in a strong position by adding 90 runs for the opening wicket.

However, the innings completely collapsed after the partnership broke. Gill was the first man to depart for 34(49).

Alick Athanaze then grabbed a stunner to get rid of Ishan Kishan for run a ball 55.

Axar Patel, Hardik Pandya, and Sanju Samson fell for single-digit scores.

Romario Shepherd was named after the Brazilian footballer, one the greatest strikers in that sport. Shepherd was born in Linden. Tall, strong and muscular, Shepherd towered over other boys during age-group and regional cricket.

He has a big presence in the middle and there are no half-measures with him. He was always meant to be a cricket allrounder.

On Saturday, Shepherd towered over India’s IPL stars, taking career-best ODI figures of 3 for 37. He took out Ishan Kishan, India’s new No. 4 Axar Patel, and Ravindra Jadeja to help dismiss India for 181 and fashion West Indies’ first ODI win against India in almost four years.

His List A economy rate of 5.49 is more acceptable, and though Jason Holder is also prone to leaking runs at the death, he offers West Indies greater control in the powerplay and middle overs.

“It was just more intent,” Shepherd said after the innings. “I just tried to run in hard and hit the pitch because when you hit the wicket, you get something out of it. So, that was in my bowling plan and especially to some of the Indian batsmen, I don’t want to get too full to them. When I came in, I got a wicket and set the tone. Basically, the guys started to push a bit and then we get another wicket that put pressure back on them.”

Shepherd toasted West Indies’ fightback and his own spell in the second ODI.

“It’s a big job from me,” Shepherd said after West Indies won by six wickets. “Basically, against a big team like India… it doesn’t matter whatever team they put out on paper, India always have some great batsmen in their line-up. So, to get my best figures against India was a great feeling for me.”

“I think our bowling is the side we need to work on a bit more, especially because it’s going to be a batting wicket there in Trinidad, so whoever bowls well is going to get the victory,” Shepherd said. “In Trinidad, the wicket is flat and there is nothing in it for the bowlers and we’re expecting a great game.”

In such conditions, West Indies will need Shepherd, the six-hitter, to turn up as well, if they are to surprise India once again.

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