BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC):
WEST INDIES failed to repeat their exploits of 24 hours earlier and slumped to a seven-wicket loss to India in the third Twenty20 International at Warner Park.
Energised by their series-leveling win on Monday, the Caribbean side were brought back down to earth, as they mustered only 164 for five off their 20 overs yesterday and then watched as Suryakumar Yadav punched 76 from 44 deliveries to give the visitors a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
Captain Rohit Sharma succumbed to injury in the second over but his opening partner Suryakumar steered the run chase brilliantly, lashing eight fours and four sixes before Rishabh Pant arrived late to stroke an unbeaten 33 off 26 balls, putting India over the line with an over to spare.
“I felt like we had to get early wickets and we didn’t get early wickets. I felt like we should have dragged it back early in the power-play but unfortunately, we couldn’t get that wicket,” said West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran.
Left-hander Kyle Mayers top-scored with 73 off 50 deliveries after West Indies were sent in, putting on 57 for the first wicket with Brandon King (20) and a further 50 for the second wicket with Pooran who made 22.
Mayers reached his second T20I half-century in the 13th over by pulling off-spinner Ravi Ashwin over mid-wicket for six, before perishing in the 17th over, top-edging a heave at seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar for wicketkeeper Pant to complete an easy catch.
Rovman Powell (23) and Shimron Hetmyer (22) then provided the finishing touches in a 34-run, fourth-wicket stand.
The sight of the dangerous Rohit hobbling off early in the run chase for 11 immediately after smashing a six and a four off fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, would have been a welcome sight for the home side.
However, Suryakumar put the game beyond West Indies in a dashing inning as he extended India’s first wicket stand to 105 with Shreyas Iyer (24) before putting on a further 30 for the second wicket with Pant who counted three fours and six.
“How we bowled in the middle overs was very, very crucial because they were just about to get that big partnership with a few of their experienced players batting in the middle,” Rohit said.
“And then how we chased the runs, I thought it was quite clinical. When you’re watching it from the outside, you felt there weren’t too much risks that we were taking.”
The final two matches of the series will be staged at the Central Broward Park Stadium in Florida next weekend.