Chahar, Pant ensure West Indies remain winless
SUMMARY: West Indies 146-6 (Pollard 58, R Powell 32*, Pooran 17; D Chahar 3-4, Saini 2-38) lost to India 150-3 (Pant 65*, Kohli 59; O Thomas 2-29, Allen 1-18) by seven wickets (with five balls remaining)
By Akeem Greene
Exceptional bowling by Man-of-the Match Deepak Chahar backed up by a stylish Rishabh Pant and another Virat Kohli masterclass, ensured India completed a clean sweep in the Twenty20 series by comprehensively beating West Indies by seven wickets at the National Stadium, Providence, Tuesday.
Despite an early stutter, Pant’s unbeaten 65 from 42 and Kohli’s 59 managed to upstage Kieron Pollard, whose solid 58 propped up West Indies to 146.
With three needed, Pant crunched Carlos Brathwaite for six, first ball of the 20th over, to cap off India’s dominance.
The new pillars of India’s middle-order staged a valiant recovery after they slipped to 27-2. Shikhar Dhawan’s struggles this series were exemplified when he slapped a wayward short-ball from Oshane Thomas straight to fine leg. Fabian Allen then had an immediate effect by outfoxing KL Rahul.
West Indies had an extra spark in the field, given their position but ‘King’ Kohli played another typical innings, absorbing pressure and reapplying by easily rotating the strike, and having fielders fetch any deliver fractionally off target.
Kohli’s experience fetched India to India to 62-2 at the halfway stage with little to no risk. With 85 needed off the final 10, on a sluggish surface, it was anyone’s game.
Recognising the need to up the ante, both players looked more expansive. In overs 10-15, India added 47 which practically made it a ‘done deal’ before they reached the death overs.
Another horror start
Three Powerplays in the series and the hosts have still found it hard to lay a platform. The three matches have yield 79-10, and it was mainly due to Evin Lewis failing to provide the necessary impetus.
The immaculate seam of Chahar rocked the top-order when play eventually got underway at 11:45h due to rain.
Lewis with an 11-ball 10 was struck plumb playing across the line, while the Sunil Narine experiment only severed up two, and home boy Shimron Hetmyer was the third victim for just three. The score was 14-3.
Like in Florida, all hope rested on Pollard, who quickly stamped this authority by swatting a straight six off the express Navdeep Saini
Debutant leg-spinner Rahul Chahar was greeted with the typical Pollard-power in his second with two sixes over long-off.
At the other end, he cashed on Washington Sundar, which a nonchalant flick for six over deep mid-wicket. Albeit under pressure with loss of three quick wickets, Pollard and Nicholas Pooran took 43 balls to muster a much needed 50-run partnership.
Saini returned for his second spell and immediately shaved the outside edge of Pooran who battled for a 23-ball 17.
A fifth and humongous six over long-on signalled Pollard’s third T20I half-century off 40 balls, his first since June 2012. Three balls later, he latched onto another which landed on the roof of the Pavilion.
An impressive Saini completely deceived Pollard with a slower-ball which crashed into middle stump in the 16th over. West Indies had recovered to 108-5.
Some vital and lusty blows by Ravmon Powell ensured West Indies recorded third highest T20I total at the venue. His 20-ball 32 was inclusive of two massive sixes and a four.
Both sides will have a chance to regroup as the format changes to 50-over, with the first match being on Thursday at Providence from 09:30h.