A fine half century from West Indies opener Lendl Simmons- his first in this format since the 2016 World Cup, saw the visitors defeat India by 8 wickets in the second T20 international at Trivandrum on Sunday.
Simmons’ 67, ably supported by quickfire knocks from Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran, saw the Windies comfortably overhaul the target of 171 with nine balls to spare.
India went in with an unchanged line up, while Pooran returned after serving a four game suspension in place of wicket keeper Denesh Ramdin.
Here are our talking points from the second T20.
1. Shivam Dube’s promotion comes off
Royal Challengers Bangalore all rounder Shivam Dube, promoted to No 3 after the early dismissal of KL Rahul, made full use of the opportunity afforded to him by scoring a quickfire 54 (30) to propel India to a respectable score of 170/7 at the end of their allotted 20 overs. He hammered four sixes- the rest of the Indian batsmen only managed one six between them.
Dube also had a decent outing with the ball and strengthened his case for a spot at next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
2. Poor finish costs Team India dear
The Men in Blue were 144/4 at the end of the 16th over and looked set for a 180-190 finish. However they could muster only 26 runs in the final four overs, as the Windies bowlers brought their side back into the game. The likes of Shreyas Iyer, batting two places below his usual No 4 spot, and Ravindra Jadeja couldn’t quite provide the final flourish that was required.
3. Dropped catches haunt Team India again
They were poor in the field in Hyderabad and dropped catches again hurt India here in Trivandrum. Both the Windies openers were given lives in the fifth over of the game, with Washington Sunder and Rishabh Pant being the guilty parties. Shreyas Iyer, normally very reliable in the field, also dropped one later on in the game. Virat Kohli took a stunner to dismiss Hetymer but the rest of his team mates clearly have some work to do on the fielding front.
4. Windies bowlers recover from Hyderabad mauling.
We had mentioned that the West Indies bowlers bar Sheldon Cottrell were disappointing in the first T-20. Cottrell was his usual economical self here too but also received support from the likes of Kesrick Williams and Hayden Walsh Jr.
Williams, who went for 60 in Hyderabad, finished with figures of 2/30, including the prize scalp of Kohli in his spell, while Walsh bagged 2/28 and removed Shivam Dube at a crucial juncture of the game.
5. Nicholas Pooran shines on return
India were still in with a chance when Shimron Hetmyer fell, but Pooran quickly put paid to their hopes. He smashed 38 off 18 with four fours and two sixes to show the West Indies what they were missing during his ban. His shots were effortless and some of his drives had the commentators oohing and aahing in the box.
With the likes of Simmons, Pollard, Lewis and Pooran all having played for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, the series decider at Wankhede promises to be a thriller.
India (170/7) lost to West Indies (173/2 in 18.3)