Rohit Sharma’s free flowing 67, followed by an impressive spell from left arm spinner Krunal Pandya, helped India defeat reigning T20 world champions West Indies by 22 runs on the DLS method in the second T20 in Florida on Sunday.
The Men in Blue went in with an unchanged XI, while the Windies included spinner Khary Pierre in place of batsman John Campbell. We had observed that the WI bowling needed some strengthening, and their selectors appeared be thinking on similar lines- dropping opener Campbell for an extra bowler and promoting Sunil Narine up the order.
Virat Kohli won the toss for the second game running but this time choose to take first guard. The visitors’ opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma laid a solid foundation at the top by adding 67 runs for the first wicket before the former was bowled by Keemo Paul for 23 while attempting to hoick the ball over mid wicket.
Skipper Kohli along with vice captain Rohit put on 48 runs for the second wicket stand before the latter mistimed a pull and was caught brilliantly by Shimron Hetmyer. His knock comprised of 6 fours and 3 sixes and in the process, he also broke Chris Gayle’s record for most sixes in T20 internationals (105).
At the time of Sharma’s dismissal, India seemed set for a 180+ plus score, but lost their way a bit, with the next five overs only producing 30 odd runs.
Dashing wicket keeper Rishabh Pant was the next to go as he fell hook, line and sinker to a well executed trap- edging a short ball from Thomas to Kieran Pollard at fine third man.
Sheldon Cottrell returned to shatter Kohli’s stumps in the 17th over, and followed it up by taking out Manish Pandey with a short delivery.
At 147/5 in 19 overs, India were in danger of posting a below par score, but Krunal Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja combined to hit three sixes off Keemo Paul in the last over to take the visitors to 167/5 off their allotted 20.
Thomas and Cottrell were the West Indies’ best bowlers as they picked up 2 wickets apiece.
Ewin Lewis was dismissed for a four ball duck in the opening T20 and here he lasted just two deliveries before again being dismissed for nought by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Narine’s promotion didn’t quite work out as expected, and the KKR star managed only 4 from 12 deliveries before being bowled by Washington Sundar.
The only real piece of resistance came from the bat of Rovman Powell, who struck a 30 ball half century to keep the Windies in the hunt. However at the other end, Nicholas Pooran ate up too many deliveries- he scored only 19 from 34, in stark comparison to Powell, who scored 54 from the same number of balls.
Both Powell and Pooran were dismissed in the same over by Krunal Pandya as the left armer delivered a killer blow to the Windies chase in the 14th over.
With 70 needing of 27 balls, lightning struck and inclement weather forced players to get off the park. The home side fell well short of the target of 121 as per the Duckworth Lewis Stern Method, giving India a a 22 run win.
Krunal Pandya was declared the Man of the Match for his cameo with the bat and his spell of 2/23 with the ball.
With this victory, India have clinched the three match T20I series 2-0 with one match to spare. The third and the final T-20 will be played at Providence Stadium in Guyana on Tuesday.