Pooran, Bowlers Propel West Indies to 2-0 Lead

Photo by Debasis Sen

Despite suffering a collapse, the West Indies managed to overhaul India’s target of 153 with seven balls to spare as they took a 2-0 lead in the T20I series. Nicholas Pooran (67 runs) and the bowlers were the main architects of the win.

At 126 for 4, with Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer at the crease, the West Indies seemed to be cruising towards a win. However, they lost wickets in a heap and soon slipped to 129 for 8. Pooran smacked one towards Sanju Samson at cover-point. In the 16th over, Romario Shepherd was run out on the back of a mix-up with Hetmyer. In the same over, the hosts also lost the wickets of both Jason Holder and Hetmyer – the former was smartly stumped by Ishan Kishan while Hetmyer was trapped in front. Both those wickets were taken by Yuzvendra Chahal.

At that stage, Alzarri Joseph and Akeal Hossein played some sensible cricket by sharing an unbeaten stand of 26 to take the side home. In the penultimate over bowled by Mukesh Kumar, Joseph smashed the seamer for a six via midwicket. The third umpire had to check for several replays before rightly adjudging that the ball just had touched the rope. Hosein then provided the finishing touches by lofting the same bowler into the boundary hoardings.

The platform for the win was set by Pooran. Pooran played with his trademark flair – cracking lofts and drives off Ravi Bishnoi and Mukesh. In fact, in the sixth over bowled by Bishnoi, he collected three boundaries and a six. It also has to be noted that Pooran had helped the home team resurrect their innings after Hardik Pandya and Arshdeep Singh combined to leave them in trouble at 32 for 3. Pooran stitched a stand of 57 with Rovman Powell and then 37 with Hetmyer.

Earlier, the tall West Indies pace bowlers – Joseph, Obed McCoy and Holder – took advantage of the spongy bounce on offer to not just keep the tourists in check but also take crucial wickets. Romario Shepherd with his round-arm action and Hosein also played their parts by taking two scalps each. It was Hosein who dismissed the dangerman Tilak Varma for 51. The highlight of Shepherd’s spell was him castling Kishan with a delivery that did just enough off the surface. For India, Tilak was clearly the cornerstone of the innings. The southpaw blended eye-catching shots with a diet of singles and twos to keep the scorecard moving on a rather tricky deck.

Unfortunately, Tilak didn’t get much support and his innings didn’t prove to be enough to help India level the series.

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