I was the World T20 champion West Indies that turned up on Sunday night. Not the Caribbean side that has been playing plenty of insipid white-ball cricket of late.
Kieron Pollard’s men proved too good for India in front of a full house at the Greenfield Stadium in the second T20I, cruising to an eight wicket win with nine balls to spare. They not only ended their losing streak against India in the shortest format, but also ensured the third and final T20I at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai isn’t a dead rubber.
Lendl Simmons anchored the chase with an unbeaten 67 (45b). His first-wicket stand of 73 with Evin Lewis got the visitor off to a flying start, before an unbeaten third-wicket 61-run partnership with Nicholas Pooran — who hammered 38 off 18 — took it home.
Shimron Hetmyer entertained with his strokeplay before his promising knock was ended by a brilliant running catch by Indian captain Virat Kohli at long-on. However, the sensational effort was the exception rather than the norm.
Washington Sundar dropped Simmons off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling, early in the innings. The off-spinning all-rounder from Chennai had a horrid time in the field for the second game in a row. He redeemed himself when he had Evin Lewis stumped, but that wasn’t enough to stop the aggressive Windies top-order from racing towards the target.
Earlier, Shivam Dube showed why Royal Challengers shelled out Rs. 5 crore for him – an uncapped player then — in last year’s IPL auction. Coming in at No. 3 ahead of Kohli, he smashed 54 off 30 balls.
His maiden international fifty helped salvage the host after an average effort in the PowerPlay (42 for one). He was particularly harsh on West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard in the ninth over, collecting 26 runs off his bowling. He eventually holed out to Hetmyer in the covers, trying to up the ante.
Dube’s dismissal brought Rishabh Pant to the middle and the wicket-keeper, who had shown glimpses of form in Hyderabad in the last match, ensured India finished on a competitive total. The 22-ball 33 will do a world of good to the confidence of the young man who has come under a lot of scrutiny of late.
It was a disappointing night with the bat for India’s gifted top three, though. Rahul was caught at deep square-leg trying to slog sweep left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, Rohit Sharma was bowled in his attempt to paddle Jason Holder and Kohli’s upper cut turned into a comfortable catch at short third man.
Interestingly enough it was Kesrick Williams who took the Indian captain’s wicket, but there was no ‘notebook’ celebration this time; he just put his finger on his lips, demanding silence.
On this night, that wasn’t the only command from the Windies that worked.
Brief Scores: India 170/7 (Shivam Dube 54 off 30 balls, Roshabh Pant 33 no of 22 balls, Kesrick Williams 2/30, Hayden Walsh 2/28); West Indies 173/2 in 18.3 overs (Lendl Simmons 67 off 45 balls, Evin Lewis 40 off 35 balls, Nicholas Pooran 38 no off 18 balls)