A majestic fifty from Rohit Sharma, aided by useful contributions from Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Krunal Pandya helped India win the second T20 International against West Indies by 22 runs under the rain rule at Lauderhill, USA on Sunday. Series wrapped up 2-0, India play the third T20I in Providence, Guyana on Tuesday.
Asked to chase 167, West Indies were 98/4 after 15.3 overs when play had to be stopped because of rain. Playing on the same pitch that had hosted the first T20I on Saturday, India put up a better batting performance after Saturday’s scrappy effort.
With a dab off his hip to a rank bad Oshane Thomas delivery, Sharma kicked off India’s innings in the most laidback way. Dhawan’s start was nervy though, getting beaten by a bouncer two balls into his innings.
An overenthusiastic Nicholas Pooran — convinced he had gloved an edge off Dhawan’s bat — however managed to convince West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite into taking a poor review.
Three wides soured an otherwise great follow up over from Shledon Cottrell but the openers finally found their flow in the next. Sharma first whipped him Thomas over midwicket before Dhawan upper cut him past Pooran. Over the next 18 deliveries though, Sharma accelerated with clean, well-timed shots.
A lofted boundary over extra-cover, one over mid-off and another swept past short fine-leg once again highlighted Sharma’s ability to pick a delivery earlier than most batsmen while the massive six against Keemo Paul was his way of punishing a slower ball gone wrong.
Dhawan faced four of those 18 deliveries, hitting a boundary though mid-on but struggling for the better part of his innings. His dismissal was almost a replay of Saturday, playing across his line and losing his stumps as a result.
Sharma however continued in the same vein, hitting two more sixes off Sunil Narine and Carlos Brathwaite with Kohli joining the party with a straight six against left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, brought in place of John Campbell.
Sharma was looking in fine fettle but two runs short of the 50-run partnership with Kohli, he miscued a pull off Thomas, slicing the ball to Shimron Hetmyer at cover.
Rishabh Pant’s poor form with the bat continued as he tried to steer a short and wide delivery from Thomas but only managed to find Kieron Pollard at third man. On 126 then with 29 deliveries left, India were poised to score at least 175. Provided Kohli stayed the entire time though.
That hope however vanished next over when Kohli yorked himself, trying to whip a full Cottrell delivery angling into him. Manish Pandey’s desperation was apparent — trying to go for a non-existent pull to Cottrell — in his dismissal and only because of Ravindra Jadeja and Krunal Pandya’s belligerent finish did India get to 167.
Three sixes in a 20-run last over conceded by Paul meant India could again put in Washington Sundar to open the bowling on a pitch that was slowing down.
Apart from a wide, Sundar bowled a perfect over to Narine, asked to open the batting for West Indies. But before Narine cracked, the pressure got to Evin Lewis as he tried to check his shot against Bhuvneshwar Kumar who took a superb catch on his follow-through.
Narine was duly removed in the next over by Sundar, his wickets disturbed after a massive hack down the leg didn’t connect. West Indies tried to consolidate after that but Pooran consumed too many deliveries, increasing the pressure on Rovman Powell who responded with a 34-ball 54.
Both departed in the 14th over bowled by Pandya, bringing Pollard and Hetmyer who opened his account with a boundary due to a misfield by Kumar.
At that point, West Indies required 79 from six overs but in came Ravindra Jadeja who conceded six to increase the pressure. Three balls into the next over though, lightning warnings prompted play to be stopped, with West Indies 22 runs short of the DLS par score of 120.