India vs West Indies: India’s bat-first woes continue, WI square series
Ind vs WIAs it turned out, India lost yet another match, this time failing to defend 170, a total that seemed more than competitive at the break, especially with the ball not coming on to the bat quickly.Updated: Dec 09, 2019 08:52 IST
When Kieron Pollard sent India to bat, it put the hosts in a fix. With only 33% of their wins this year coming batting first, India knew it was an opportunity to tick a box. As it turned out, India lost yet another match, this time failing to defend 170, a total that seemed more than competitive at the break, especially with the ball not coming on to the bat quickly.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar could have dismissed West Indies openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons had Washington Sundar and Rishabh Pant not grassed catches in the fifth over of the chase. India were left ruing those misses. Sundar’s catching woes continued into the second game and may have affected his bowling confidence too as he leaked 24 runs in his first three overs. It would have been yet another wicket-less display for the off-spinner but Virat Kohli kept faith, gave him his fourth over inside the first 10. Sundar finally got the dangerous looking Lewis stumped on 40.
Shimron Hetmyer’s 16-ball 23, with three sixes, threatened to take the match away from India earlier than expected but Kohli cut it short with a stunning diving catch at long-on, off Ravindra Jadeja in the 14th over. West Indies were still 59 short then. Yuzvendra Chahal, on the brink of becoming India’s highest T20 wicket-taker, had a rare poor game as he finished wicket-less.
The dew-factor may have played a part, but Chahal losing the leg-spinners’ battle to West Indies counterpart Hayden Walsh made a big difference at the end. Simmons, with 67, and comeback man Nicolas Pooran (38) saw West indies home to set up a series-decider in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma and Kohli had an off-day, getting out cheaply trying to be cheeky. Sharma’s attempted paddle sweep went wrong against Jason Holder in the 8th over and Kohli mistimed a cut off Kesrick Williams’s slower ball to short-third man. Both sides were clever in utilising the opening Powerplay. Shivam Dube was sent at No 3—after KL Rahul’s dismissal—with a license to take Khary Pierre out of the attack. West Indies quickly introduced Williams as Dube got off to a nervous and streaky start, scoring 12 off the first 14 balls he faced.
It was not until Jason Holder allowed Dube an opportunity to free his arms; a six and a four in the 8th over finally making him feel at ease. Pollard came in for a big pounding next over. A pulled six shot over deep square leg, a half-tracker smacked over deep mid-wicket and a full toss slapped over point gave Dube three sixes in that over. He finished his fifty off 27 balls before inexperience got the better of him. But there is no doubt Dube the batsman has finally sounded his arrival on the big stage.
Dube’s quickfire stint made sure India was going at 10 per over at the half-way mark, helping India show the urgency they miss sometimes when batting first in this format. The second half of India’s innings didn’t go to plan, as they managed only 58 off the last eight overs with West Indies effectively using the change of pace. Walsh, a Caribbean Premier League find, bowled a top spell of leg-breaks, finishing with 2/28.
Kohli’s dismissal was an opportunity for Pant. He can be unorthodox and audacious in his stroke-play. But this wasn’t a match for a cameo; this was Pant’s chance to show maturity. He started aggressively and stayed unbeaten at the end, but his 22-ball 33 also saw a sharp decline in strike rate after West Indies squeezed the run-flow by mixing up their deliveries.
Brief scores: India 170/7 (Shivam Dube 54, Rishabh Pant 3 n.o.; Hayden Walsh jr 2/28) vs West Indies 173/2 (Lendl Simmons 67, Evin Lewis 40; Ravindra Jadeja 1/22)