Published on: Aug 14, 2023
Pacer Romario Shepherd claimed 4/31, while Brandon King hammered an unbeaten 85 off 55 as West Indies beat India by eight wickets in the final T20I in Lauderhill, Florida on Sunday, August 13. With the win, the Windies clinched the five-match series 3-2 in emphatic fashion.
India won the toss and batted first in the game, but only managed to put up 165/9 on the board. Openers Yashasvi Jaiswal (5) and Shubman Gill (9) perished to the left-arm spin of Akeal Hosein as India were two down for 17 inside three overs.
Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma then added 49 runs for the third wicket to give the innings some direction. Varma looked good again and struck three fours and two sixes, but was out for 27 off 18, falling to a superb return catch from Roston Chase. The rest of the Indian innings was about Suryakumar holding one end up for India and wickets falling at the other.
Sanju Samson (13) let another golden opportunity go abegging, nicking one from Shepherd to the keeper. Hardik Pandya (14 off 18) just couldn’t get going and also fell to Shepherd, trying to break the shackles. Suryakumar’s fine knock ended on 61 off 45 as he missed a delivery from Holder and was trapped in front of the wicket.
Axar Patel (13), Arshdeep Singh (8) and Kuldeep Yadav (0) failed to get going as India huffed and puffed their way to 165. It was never going to be enough and proved so. Arshdeep gave India hope by sending back Kyle Mayers (10) with one that was smartly dug into the pitch. However, King and Nicholas Pooran (47 off 35) put West Indies in firm control, adding 107 for the second wicket.
Pooran struck one four and four sixes before becoming Varma’s first international scalp. King, however, carried the innings on his shoulders, slamming five fours and six sixes in a terrific display of big-hitting, looking in complete command of the chase. Shai Hope (22 not out off 13) launched Jaiswal down the ground for a maximum as West Indies got home with two overs to spare.
Speaking after the memorable win, skipper Rovman Powell said, “It is difficult to put words. Even adjectives are difficult to be put here. There was a lot at stake. We sat down and had a meeting last evening. The people in Caribbean were longing for something nice. Credit to the coaching side. We could have easily panicked after the loss. Our plans were good. I am very big on individual performances. If one can perform, the team will benefit. Nicholas Pooran is a big player for us, we asked him to come through for us in at least three of the five games and he did.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent