Jason Holder-motivated West Indies successfully defended their total of 149/6 in the second half to secure a 1-0 lead in the T20I series. In Trinidad’s difficult batting conditions, India collapsed in the second half of the pursuit. Arshdeep Singh threatened to undo the West Indies’ hard work in the dying moments, but Romario Shepherd did enough to leave India five runs short.
India’s shaky beginnings
Five overs into India’s chase, West Indies’ once-modest total of 149/6 began to look far more daunting as they lost both their openers cheaply. Akeal Hosein beat Shubman Gill in the air and had him stumped in the third over while Ishan Kishan fell for a slower one from Obed McCoy, mistiming a heave to mid-on in the fifth.
Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma move on quickly
Suryakumar Yadav may still be ‘finding his footing’ and ‘learning’ the 50-over format, but he continues to excel in the T20 format. He began with a drive down the ground and a cut over deep point for four and six runs, respectively. Alongside him in the devastation was debutant Tilak, who demonstrated that there are no longer any qualms at this level by launching a disdainful shot over deep mid-wicket off a 143kmph Alzarri Joseph delivery. This time, Joseph increased his speed and reduced his length to achieve a similar result, with the ball soaring over deep square leg. The duo brought India to 66/2 in nine overs, putting them in a relatively comfortable position despite Hosein’s compact three overs, which yielded only 15 runs.
How the tables turned…
During the subsequent two overs and two Shimron Hetmyer catches, the hosts fought back. First, he took a sharp, low ball at cover off an uppish drive from Suryakumar, followed by a sharp, low ball at deep backward square leg off an error by Varma. India was reduced to 77 for 4 in 11 overs, requiring 73 runs off 54 deliveries.
Even as Hardik Pandya and Sanju Samson attempted to get India back on course, runs were difficult to come by, and Hosein completed a perfect four-over spell of 1 for 17 wickets. As they continued to struggle to middle the ball, the duo scored the occasional four but relied primarily on singles and twos to chip away at their deficit. When a release over arrived, the equation reduced to 52 minus 36. Hardik and Samson took 15 from McCoy, thereby increasing the burden on the hosts.
At 37 off 30 with two recognized batsmen in the middle, India was still in control of the game, but Jason Holder returned to shock the visitors once more. He defeated his opponent with an off-cutter before Mayers dispatched Samson with a direct strike. This resulted in India’s long tail scoring 37 runs off 24 balls. Axar Patel, India’s last hope, gave the pursuit new energy by hitting Holder for a six down the ground in the eleven-run 18th over, bringing the equation down to 21 runs off 12 balls. West Indies had also exhausted their allotted time, leaving them with only four fielders available for the final two overs.
However, McCoy silenced the India admirers by dispatching Axar on the first ball with a slower delivery, but Arshdeep outwalked him to add another twist to the chase’s dramatic conclusion. The left-handed batsman flicked a ball past the short fine leg fielder and then struck a ball over extra cover to keep the host team on its toes. By the time Arshdeep took strike in the final over, India had lost eight wickets and required 9 runs from 4 deliveries. When India needed six runs to win, Romario Shepherd used wide yorkers to restrict Arshdeep and dismissed the final batsman, Mukesh Kumar, with the final delivery. In the end, India fell short by five runs.
Regarding the first inning…
King, Chahal and a non-review
Brandon King began the game with a streaky four-point shot from the wing, but he made it his objective to maximize the PowerPlay. He gave Mukesh the charge in his first over and hits him for two consecutive fours. Then, he punished Arshdeep for deviating to the leg side. Hardik brought on Axar in the fourth over, and King responded by blasting him over deep extra-cover with an inside-out drive.
Yuzvendra Chahal appeared to have captured Kyle Mayers leg-before on the first delivery of the fifth over, giving India their first breakthrough. However, replays revealed that the left-hander made an error by not reviewing the decision, as the ball went well past the off-stump. Chahal terminated King’s flamboyant stay two balls later by capturing him leg before. The opener, who scored 28 of the team’s 29 runs, returned with a review.
The Pooran promises and a middle stutter
Nicholas Pooran came out swinging for the boundaries in Dallas as if he were still playing for MI New York, where he played one of the finest T20 innings and won a championship. Similar to that day, he responded to the loss of wicket with a counterattack by hitting Chahal for four off the first delivery and then slog-sweeping him for six to conclude the double-wicket over. Similar treatment was given to Axar, allowing West Indies to reach 54 for 2 in six overs.
Then, there was a scoring drought.
Pooran and Johnson Charles labored with fluency on a slow surface, while Hardik brought himself on and utilized change of tempo to perfection. In the eighth over, Varma displayed a moment of brilliance on the field by taking a spectacular catch in the deep to send Charles fleeing. Only 15 runs were scored in the four overs that followed the PowerPlay, bringing the West Indies’ score to 69/2 at the halfway point. Even after the refreshments break, the West Indies were unable to significantly increase their scoring rate because Hardik, Kuldeep Yadav, and Chahal bowled so well in tandem. The Indian captain reaped the benefits of that phase when he induced Pooran to edge out to deep mid-wicket and retreat for 41 runs off 34 balls.
Powell push at the death
Rovman Powell steered his team from 96 for 4 in 14.1 overs to 149 for 6 in the end, with 42 runs coming off the final 30 deliveries. Powell hit Hardik’s slower short ball over deep midwicket, Chahal’s delivery over long-on, and then Arshdeep, one of India’s most reliable death-overs bowlers. Mukesh bowled two high-pressure overs, the 18th and 20th, without conceding a boundary during the final bowlers’ battle between Powell and the Indians. It brought the West Indies to 149/6, a total that appeared inadequate at the time but proved sufficient in the end.
Brief Scores: West Indies 149/6 in 20 overs (Rovman Powell 48, Nicholas Pooran 41; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-24) beat India 145/9 in 20 overs (Tilak Varma 39, Suryakumar Yadav 21; Jason Holder 2-19, Obed McCoy 2-28, Romario Shepherd 2-33) by 4 runs