Mayers’ 73 in vain as India retake series lead
India 165 for 3 (Suryakumar 76, Pant 33*, Hosein 1-28) beat West Indies 164 for 5 (Mayers 73, Powell 23, Bhuvneshwar 2-35) by seven wickets
Suryakumar Yadav put on a workshop on how to hit hard lengths after Hardik Pandya and R Ashwin helped India keep West Indies down to 164 in their 20 overs. Riding on Suryakumar’s 76 off 44 balls, India got to the target and a 2-1 lead in the five-match series with an over to spare.
The only matter of concern for India was their captain Rohit Sharma’s fitness, who retired hurt having got a suspected back spasm when batting.
Put in on a bouncy track that was hosting its second match in two days, West Indies got off to a quick start in the powerplay, but Pandya and Ashwin dragged them back with their changes of pace. Between them, they conceded just 45 in eight overs.
While Kyle Mayers scored a 50-ball 73, run-a-ball 20s from Brandon King and Nicholas Pooran hurt West Indies’ momentum. Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell helped them get 80 off the last seven but it wasn’t enough to trouble Suryakumar.
Fighting from the first ball he faced, Suryakumar looked in imperious touch, squeezing out a near-yorker for four through cover. He followed it with scarcely believable shots to perfectly acceptable balls bowled on hard lengths.
Five of his 12 boundaries came behind square on the offside, and one behind square on the leg side, but his best shot was an aerial inside-out drive to a short-of-a-length ball on middle stump, getting a six over wide long-off. It was but one of an exhibition put up by Suryakumar, who at one point threatened to get a century in a small chase.
By the time he was done, India needed just 30 off 33 balls.
Mayers signals intent
India snuck in a quiet over from Deepak Hooda with the new ball, but Mayers got stuck into any pace on offer, especially that of Avesh Khan. If he went over leg side against Avesh, he made room to slice open the covers when Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled. Arshdeep Singh did well in the final powerplay over, but Mayers and King punished two slight errors of length from Ashwin in the seventh over to make it 56 for 0.
Pandya, Ashwin choke the middle overs
Pandya, who had been pulled for a six in his first over, got a change of ends, which meant Mayers was hitting into a stiff wind if he pulled. Extra bounce, hard lengths and changes of pace followed in the next three overs that went for just 11 runs, and also brought the wicket of King, who played on when slogging at him.
Ashwin had two left-hand batters in sight, and he stifled them with his guile and variations on a pitch with little turn. Mayers and Pooran managed to hit a four and a six in his remaining three overs, but had to take big risks. By the time the duo was done, West Indies had reached just 84 in 13 overs.
Honours even in final exchange
West Indies managed to successfully target Avesh in the final exchanges, but Arshdeep and Bhuvneshwar kept pulling them back, denying them the finishing kick they badly needed after that middle-over slowdown. Mayers and Rovman Powell played some incredible shots to get them the 80 runs they did in these seven overs, but they were about to pale in comparison.
The Suryakumar show
The first ball Suryakumar – opening for the third time this series – faced was a low full toss with not much room, but he squeezed it out for a four through covers. He was just warming up those whippy wrists of his. In the fourth over, he played a mix of a ramp and a drive to send Azlarri Joseph for a six over third.
India took 56 off the powerplay, which is when West Indies would have hoped to have brought on a similar slowdown.
However, Suryakumar took Jason Holder on in the eighth over, and then punished Joseph for no fault of his in the tenth. The drive off a short-of-a-length delivery for six over wide long-off was followed by a ramp from around leg stump, with Suryakumar almost on his back as arched back to make room. It was halfway mark, and India needed just another 69.
Before he signed off, Suryakumar played another outrageous shot, a sweep off left-arm seamer Dominic Drakes from wide outside off and over short fine. When he tried a repeat, Suryakumar fell, leaving India just 30 to get in 33 balls, which they did comfortably thanks to Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 33 off 26 deliveries. (ESPNcricinfo)