India beat West Indies by six wickets to 1-0 series lead

SUMMARY: West Indies 157-7 from 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 61, Kyle Mayers 31, Kieron Pollard 24*, Ravi Bishnoi 2-17, Harshal Patel 2-37) vs India 162-4 from 18.5 overs (Rohit Sharma 40, Ishan Kishan 35, Suryakumar Yadav 34*, Venkatesh Iyer 24*, Roston Chase 2-14)


Ravi Bishnoi overcame a nervy start on debut and then let rip his wrong’uns to give India a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. He bowled four overs full of wrong’uns, according to ESPNcricinfo’s logs, to help India restrict West Indies to 157 for 7, despite Nicholas Pooran‘s half-century.

What could’ve been a challenging chase was initially made to look like small fry by Rohit Sharma who hit 40 of the 63 runs India had scored in the powerplay. However, the target looked a whole lot bigger once Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant all fell in quick succession.

India were 114 for 4 in the 15th over at that point; they were also sweating over the fitness of Deepak Chahar, who had suffered a blow on his bowling hand while fielding. He didn’t return to bowl his final over.

As it turned out, India didn’t need his batting either in the slog overs, with Suryakumar Yadav and Venkatesh Iyer absorbing the pressure and sealing victory.

Spotlight on Bishnoi

Bhuvneshwar Kumar found swing in the early exchanges and had Brandon King spooning a catch to backward point for 4. Kyle Mayers, the other opener, however, regularly jumped out of his crease or across his stumps to give West Indies some early impetus. He backed away and laced Bhuvneshwar through the covers before swatting Harshal Patel over backward square leg.

Yuzvendra Chahal cut short Mayers’ innings at 31 when he trapped him lbw in the seventh over. Chahal could have struck first ball had Bishnoi not misjudged a skier at the long-on boundary. Bishnoi stepped back on the skirting and ended up conceding a six.

Bishnoi was introduced into the attack in the very next over and missed his lines, darting three wides. He hit his rhythm soon after, dismissing both Roston Chase and Rovman Powell in the next over.

Chase missed a fizzing wrong’un and was pinned lbw while Powell holed out to long-on. Bishnoi, too, troubled Pooran, keeping him to eight off nine balls against his legbreaks googlies.

Nicholas Pooran topscored for West Indies (Photo: Getty Images)

Pooran revives West Indies

Like Bishnoi, Pooran, too, had a scrappy start and was on 17 off 19 balls at one stage. He finally broke free when he clattered a pull over the square-leg boundary off Chahal.

Pooran was particularly severe on the legspinner, taking him for 26 off a mere 12 balls, including three sixes. He reached his fifty off 38 balls when he carved Chahal through backward point for four.

Kieron Pollard, who had recovered sufficiently from the knee niggle that had forced him out of the last two ODIs, also did his bit, scoring an unbeaten 24 off 19 balls.

He had slid down the order to deny India’s wristspinners a favourable match-up. Instead, Akeal Hosein was bumped up to No.6, but he could manage just 10 off 12 balls. Nevertheless, Pooran and Pollard hauled West Indies closer to 160.

The storm and the calm

Rohit went on a boundary-hitting spree in the powerplay, using the hardness of the new ball and quickness of the outfield to his advantage. After whipping Romario Shepherd for six and pulling Sheldon Cottrell for four, he cranked up the tempo against Odean Smith, going 4,6,4,6.

It was Chase’s offspin that delivered West Indies the breakthrough and slowed down India. He first had Rohit caught at the midwicket boundary before getting Kishan too. Kishan had been the tortoise to Rohit’s hare, labouring to 35 off 42 balls.

Kishan’s wicket triggered a mini-collapse as India lost 3 for 21. Chase bowled into the pitch and despite the onset of dew later in the evening, he extracted some turn and bounce to unsettle India. However, the left-arm spinners Hosein and Fabian Allen released all the pressure at the other end.

Suryakumar and Venkatesh cashed in, putting on an unbroken 48 off 26 balls and leaving West Indies still searching for their first win on this tour. (ESPNcricinfo)

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