Opener Lendl Simmons struck an unbeaten 67 as West Indies beat India by eight wickets in the second Twenty20 international on Sunday to level the three-match series at 1-1.
Simmons was the anchor of the run-chase as he put up crucial partnerships including a 73-run opening stand with Evin Lewis, who made 40, as West Indies chased down their target of 171 with nine balls to spare in Thiruvananthapuram.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran hit the winning boundary to finish unbeaten on 38 after returning to the side following his four-match ban for ball tampering.
A below-par score of 170/7 with only 38 runs in the final five overs was never going to be enough keeping the dew factor in mind as India’s struggles while batting first in the shortest format were exposed again.
With another poor day on the field barring an exceptional running catch from skipper Virat Kohli, the Indian bowlers were way off target, especially spinners Ravindra Jadeja (1/22 in 2 overs) and Yuzvendra Chahal (0/36 in 3 overs) who were taken to the cleaners by the big-hitting West Indies batsmen.
West Indies’ dominance was summarised by the dozen sixes that they hit apart from 11 boundaries compared to five maximums by the hosts, four of which were hit by rookie all-rounder Shivam Dube. The youngster justified his promotion in batting order, with a smashing half-century at No 3 but it was struggle for the other Indian batsmen after being put into bat.
Despite Dube’s 54 off 30 balls, which had four huge sixes apart from three fours, India didn’t get the required momentum during the death overs on a track where Caribbean seamers used a lot of back of length slower deliveries along with well-disguised short balls.
The last five overs India couldn’t get the required momentum as Rishabh Pant (33 not out off 2 balls) tried his best but did not have the support from the other end or find the big hits himself.
Kesrick Williams bounced back from his Hyderabad outing with figures of 2/30 in four overs including the prized wicket of the Indian captain (19 of 17 balls). The other bowler who impressed was leg-spinner Hayden Walsh (2/28 in 4 overs), who pitched the ball in good areas and was also able to get some sharp turn on his leg breaks.
The third and final match is in Mumbai on Wednesday.
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