Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya were the stars as India sealed the three-match T20I series against West Indies after pitching in with a clinical showing in Florida on Sunday, winning a rain-curtailed game by 22 runs. Despite Rovman Powell’s fifty, West Indies fell behind in their run chase of 168 before a storm washed off chances of resumption. At the stoppage, Windies needed 70 runs more to win in 27 deliveries.
Winning the toss and opting to bat first, the Indian openers put up a steady partnership, as they set the base for the Men in Blue to notch up 167 on the board. Rohit Sharma struck a brilliant 67, as he laid the platform, first with Shikhar Dhawan and then with skipper Virat Kohli. He was the dominant player in both partnerships, scoring 39 off the 69 runs for the first wicket, and then smashed 32 runs in a partnership of 48 with Kohli. He reached his fifty in just 40 balls, eventually getting out for 67.
The brisk start helped the Indians get a solid foundation, but the duo of Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas helped their team back into the contest as they got a flurry of wickets. Thomas struck twice in four balls and sent back Rohit and Rishabh Pant. The wicket-keeper’s poor form continued as he yet again played a rash shot off a short delivery from outside off to the fielder at third man.
Kohli followed soon after after he was unable to read a perfect yorker by Cottrell. The West Indian bowler whipped out his trademark salute once again as he got Manish Pandey with a slower delivery, that was top-edged to the keeper.
However, Krunal Pandya brought back some respect to the total as he slammed Keemo Paul for two successive sixes in the final over. Ravindra Jadeja too got into the act, hitting a six off the second last ball, as India took 20 runs in the 20th over.
West Indies got off to the worst possible start, as they lost their openers for only 8 runs on the board. Bhuvneshwwar Kumar sent Evin Lewis back with a stunning diving catch off his own bowling, while Sunil Narine, opening the batting in place of John Campbell tried to break the shackles and succumbed in the process. Powell, then, combined with Nicholas Pooran to stitch together a 76-run partnership for the third wicket, as West Indies came back in the game. The former, in particular, impressed with his counter-attacking skills, as he smashed newbies Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini.
However, Pooran was unable to get going at the other end, as he found it tough to navigate the left-arm spinner Pandya. The all-rounder struck in his third over as he sent back both Powell and Pooran, which ultimately was the decider as the DLS calculations came into play. Strong winds, lightning and rain forced the players off the field, eventually, with Windies 22 behind in the DLS calculations. The T20 leg of the T20I series ended rather anti-climactically as play could not resume, but the fans got their money’s worth as India clinched the series.
The third and final T20I will be played at Guyana on August 6.
Brief scores: India 167 for 5 in 20 oves (Rohit Sharma 67, Virat Kohli 28; Sheldon Cottrell 2-25, Oshane Thomas 2-27) beat West Indies 98/4 in 15.3 overs (Rovman Powell 54; Krunal Pandya 2-23) by 22 runs (D/L Method)