Pooran, Hosein win battle of nerves to make it 2-0 for West Indies

West Indies 155 or 8 (Pooran 67, Pandya 3-35, Chahal 2-19) beat India 152 for 7 (Tilak 51, Joseph 2-28, Shepherd 2-28) by two wickets


West Indies beat India in back-to-back T20Is for the first time since 2016, thus giving themselves every chance of triumphing over India in a T20I series (two games or more) for the first time in seven years.

But none of this was without drama. With 27 runs to get off 37 balls and six wickets still in hand in the chase of 153, West Indies lost 4 for 3 in the space of 13 deliveries, their smooth progress hitting serious turbulence.

Who would have thought they would win with seven balls to spare? Eventually, it took an unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 26 between Nos. 9 and 10 Akeal Hosein and Alzarri Joseph to get their side home.

But before rescuing West Indies with the bat, both Hosein and Joseph grabbed two wickets each – as did Romario Shepherd – to set the base for the win by restricting India to 152.

Nicholas Pooran then led the effort with the bat, clobbering 67 off 40 balls with six fours and four sixes to keep India under pressure for most of the chase.

Powell’s calls, bowlers’ execution spot on

Rovman Powell had lost the toss, but his tactics ensured India’s batters hardly ever felt settled on a pitch where the ball was gripping and turning. Throughout India’s innings, there were only two occasions when a West Indies bowler bowled at least two overs in a row.

And even that first happened only when Jason Holder bowled the ninth and 11th overs, with the constant rotation of bowlers not allowing India any momentum.

Obed McCoy, Holder, Hosein and Joseph executed the plan to perfection, combining to grab 4 for 111 across 16 overs – an economy rate of less than seven an over – across multiple change-ups.

There were fast ones zipping and skidding through on the two-paced pitch – from the pace bowlers and the left-arm spinner Hosein alike – as well as slower balls, cutters and turning deliveries, which India’s batters could not get a hold of.

West Indies got everything they could have hoped for on Sunday to keep India in check: the slowness of the pitch playing a part in a leading edge from Shubman Gill, a direct-hit to run Suryakumar Yadav out, turn to have Sanju Samson stumped, and pace and accuracy to clean up Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan.

Batting was difficult on this track in general too, as India struggling to 53 for 2 off the first nine overs indicated.

Tilak’s maturity holds India together

On debut in the previous game, Tilak Varma wasn’t afraid of pulling back-to-back sixes to open his runs tally despite India having not started well in the chase. He hit 39 from 22 balls there, in Tarouba, as India fell just short.

Tilak Varma heaves one away•Aug 06, 2023•AFP/Getty Images

Three days later, Tilak was happy to play anchor. He came in at 18 for 2 in the fourth over, with Gill and Suryakumar’s lean returns continuing.

Despite hitting two boundaries, Tilak was only on 21 off his first 24 balls. But even then those fours hinted at his confidence: the first was a clean loft over mid-on, the next a bold scoop over short-fine leg. He ultimately upped the tempo and finished with 51 from 41, though he did enjoy some luck.

When on 25, his pull shot was anticipated by Shepherd at short fine leg, where he stuck his right hand up only for the ball to brush it and trickle to the rope; on 30, McCoy ran and dived to his left from long-on, but dropped another tough chance.

But a reverse-sweep for four and a heave over short fine for six soon after showed Tilak still wasn’t afraid to take his chances. (ESPNcricinfo)

  1. Stephen Monohar Kangal says

    After the Torouba first T20 I predicted that WI will clinch the series at Providence and they are well on track to seal the series on Tuesday at the Guyana venue.
    The WI was very business-like on the field and made several surgical incisions into the brittle Indian batting on a pitch that held many monsters for them.
    Pooran played the anchor role and it is very pleasing to the eye and the mind to see him mixing a destructive and lethal cocktail of aggression and fine stroke play on the off-side. He looked very relaxed and I hope that this new template in his batting repertoire will be fine tuned and blossom to become the fine player that we all predicted that he will become.
    Congratulations to the maroon army and get the job finished on Tuesday while you all are riding the crest of form, finesses, confidence and function.
    We are rallying round you to burst the Indian bubble into a rubble and give them some trouble in the ‘kootia’.

  2. Patricia Pierre says

    My hat goes out to you boys. We are proud of you. Do keep up the good work.

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