Nicholas Pooran blasted a superb half-century, putting up a brazen display of power-hitting as he scored 67 off 40 deliveries to help the hosts recover…reports Asian Lite News
Tilak Varma (51) struck his maiden T20I half-century but Nicholas Pooran hammered a brilliant 40-ball 67 and West Indies survived a major scare, losing four wickets for two runs late, to reach 155/8 to win the match by two wickets and take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Romario Shepherd (2-28), Alzarri Joseph (2-28) and Akeal Hosein (2-29) claimed a brace of wickets each as India barely managed to reach 152/7 in 20 overs thanks to Tilak Varma, who held the innings together coming in at 76/4 and responding with a superb knock in what is only his second outing in T20I cricket.
Despite losing star spinner Kuldeep Yadav to an injury. India got off to a superb start with the ball as skipper Hardik Pandya claimed two wickets in the first and fourth deliveries of the opening over of the West Indies reply. And when Arshdeep Singh trapped Kyle Mayers (15) in front of the wicket, West Indies were 32/3 in the fourth over and facing the prospect of a debacle.
However, Nicholas Pooran blasted a superb half-century, putting up a brazen display of power-hitting as he scored 67 off 40 deliveries to help the hosts recover. He shared a 57-run partnership with skipper Rovman Powell for the fourth wicket that set his team on course to victory.
Pooran muscled away the ball, hitting shots at will against the Indian spinners as he hammered six boundaries and four sixes. He pummelled leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi for a four and six on the first two overs of the sixth over and then blasted boundaries off the fourth and fifth deliveries of that eventful over. He had earlier struck two back-to-back boundaries off Mukesh Kumar. After Hardik had struck double blows in the first over, Pooran heaves Pandya for a six over wide long-on and then slashes a shortish and wide delivery outside off past point for a four in the third over.
Skipper Powell (21) and Shimrom Hetmyer (22) made vital contributions but the West Indies lost three wickets in a sensational 16th over with Romao Shepherd run out going for a second run in which his partner was not interested, Jason Holder given out by TV umpire, stumped by Ishan Kishan off Chahal and then the Indians got ‘three reds’ in DRS to send back Hetmyer, trapped lbw by Chahal, to reduce West Indies to 129/8. West Indies lost three wickets for two runs and were staring at defeat.
However, Akeal Hosein (16 not out) and Alzarri Joseph (10 not out) saw them through in a thrilling finish by sharing a 26-run partnership for the unfinished ninth wicket as the hosts reached 155/8 in 18.5 overs to take 2-0 lead in the five-match series. This was the first time since 2016 that West Indies defeated India in two successive T20I matches.
Earlier, electing to bat first, India got off to a poor start losing three wickets for just 60 runs by the midway stage. Opener Shubman Gill (7) and Suryakumar Yadav (1) failed to click but Ishan Kishan and Tilak Varma scripted a mini recovery.
Kishan was lucky in the first over when a defensive prod by him fell just short of Rovman Powell. He hammered Akael Hosein for a big six over deep square leg and once again went over the boundary in the 10th over when he swiped Romario Shepherd for his second six. In between, he struck a boundary each off Alzarri Joseph and Kyle Mayers before he was out for 27, playing all over a delivery by Romario Shepherd and had his off-stump rocked back off the very next delivery after being struck for a six.
India slumped to 76/4 after losing Sanju Samson (7) in the 12th over and looked in danger of failing to put up a big score.
Varma, who top-scored for India with 39 off 22 balls in the first T20I, held one end up as he blasted a fine half-century, hitting five fours and a lone six during his 41-ball knock. He reached the milestone of 39 balls as India crossed the 100-run mark.
He started with a boundary off Alzari Joseph and then blasted back-to-back boundaries off Jason Holder in the 11th over, scooped Mayers behind the wicket off Mayers in the eighth over and reverse swept Hosein over deep third man boundary for a four. He enjoyed a life when the long-on fielder ran in from deep midwicket to long-on but could not pouch the tough chance.
Hardik Pandya landed a few lusty blows in scoring 24 off 18 deliveries but was out in the most inappropriate time in the 18th over, hitting two sixes. India managed to reach a modest score, failing to accelerate after losing wickets at crucial junctures.
In the end, it did not prove enough as the West Indies surged to a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Brief scores: India 152/7 in 20 overs (Ishan Kishan 27, Tilak Varma 51, Hardik Pandya 24; Romario Shepherd 2-28, Alzarri Joseph 2-28, Akeal Hosein 2-29) lost to West Indies 155/8 in 18.5 overs (Nicholas Pooran 67, Rovman Powell 21, Shimron Hetmyer 22, Akeal Hosein 16 not out; Hardik Pandya 3-35; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-19) by two wickets.