First T20: West Indies won by 4 runs against India at Trinidad and Tobago
Jason Holder-inspired West Indies pulled off an incredible second-half heist to defend their total of 149/6 and take a 1-0 lead in the T20I series. In tough batting conditions in Trinidad, India fell apart in the second half of the chase. Arshdeep Singh threatened to ruin West Indies’ good work at the death but Romario Shepherd did enough to leave India five short in the end.
Five overs into India’s chase, West Indies’ once-modest total of 149/6 began to look far more daunting as they lost both their openers cheaply. Akeal Hosein beat Shubman Gill in the air and had him stumped in the third over while Ishan Kishan fell for a slower one from Obed McCoy, mistiming a heave to mid-on in the fifth.
Suryakumar Yadav might still be finding his feet and ‘learning’ his way through the 50-over format but T20s continue to come easy to him. He started off with a drive down the ground and a cut over deep point for a four and a six. Accompanying him in the carnage was debutant Tilak who showed there’s no such thing as nerves at this level anymore as he got off the mark with a disdainful shot over deep mid-wicket off an Alzarri Joseph ball delivered at 143kmph. Joseph pushed up the pace and pulled back the length for a similar result, this time the ball flying over deep square leg. The pair took India to 66/2 in 9 overs and put them in a fairly comfortable position despite Hosein’s tight three overs for just 15 runs.
The hosts clawed back over the next two overs and two Shimron Hetmyer catches. First, at cover, he took a sharp, low one off an uppish drive from Suryakumar and then one at deep backward square leg off a miscue from Varma. Just like that, India were down to 77 for 4 in 11 overs, needing 73 off 54 balls.
Rovman Powell took the wheel from 96 for 4 in 14.1 overs and was largely responsible for his team getting to 149 for 6 in the end, with 42 coming off the last 30 balls. Powell slogged Hardik’s slower short ball over deep midwicket, muscled one over long-on from Chahal and then took on one of India’s trusted death-overs operators in Arshdeep. In the midst of a Powell-v-Indian bowlers tussle in the end, Mukesh bowled two high pressure overs – 18th and 20th – without giving away a single boundary. It took West Indies to 149/6 – a total which looked sub-par at that stage, but proved to be enough in the end.
Brief Scores: West Indies 149/6 in 20 overs (Rovman Powell 48, Nicholas Pooran 41; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-24) beat India 145/9 in 20 overs (Tilak Varma 39, Suryakumar Yadav 21; Jason Holder 2-19, Obed McCoy 2-28, Romario Shepherd 2-33) by 4 runs