India’s Tour Conclusion: T20I Series Loss to West Indies

West Indies

India’s multi-format tour of the Caribbean and the USA concluded with a T20I series loss to West Indies. The outcome in Florida can be attributed, in part, to India’s weak lower-order batting and lackluster bowling performance on Sunday. However, it’s important not to diminish the credit due to Nicholas Pooran and Brandon King, who masterfully orchestrated an impressive chase.

The duo aggressively scored 107 runs off 72 balls for the second wicket, effectively shutting the door on India’s chances. What initially appeared to be a challenging pursuit transformed into a comfortable victory as West Indies secured their second consecutive T20I series triumph, marking their first win against India since 2017.

King, Pooran blaze away

West Indies lost Kyle Mayers in the second over, falling to Arshdeep Singh, but this setback only fueled their determination in the drizzly conditions that kept both teams mindful of the DLS sheet.

In a tight situation and taking a hit on the ribs from a short delivery on the second ball, Pooran quickly showcased his strength by sending Arshdeep over deep midwicket to open his scoring on the fourth ball he faced. Pooran’s fortunes took a favorable turn when Mukesh Kumar, diving at mid-off, almost caught him in the third over. He capitalized on this stroke of luck by smashing Hardik Pandya for consecutive sixes shortly thereafter.

Pooran’s luck continued when a slight blip on the Snickometer revealed the slightest edge of the glove during an attempted slog sweep, leading to the overturning of an LBW decision by Kuldeep Yadav in the fifth over. Amidst all this, there was a remarkable exhibition of powerful and unrestricted hitting, completely unsettling India’s bowlers.

Did India make a tactical mistake?

India’s tactical decision to field six bowlers, including Hardik, to counter situations like this one, raised concerns about their batting potentially weakening down the order. However, during today’s match, especially against Pooran, it made one wonder if they were making a tactical mistake.

Mukesh Kumar, known for his ability to swing the ball with the new one, bowled only one over in the initial ten overs (the tenth over). Axar Patel was given just one over (the 15th), with West Indies needing 42 runs from 36 balls, and Yuzvendra Chahal, seemingly at a confidence low, was introduced during the powerplay. That over cost 14 runs, as King welcomed him with a massive hit against the turn for a six.

Among the bowlers, only Kuldeep managed to somewhat contain the batters by skillfully varying his pace and lengths. In the previous two games, Pooran had fallen trying to take on Kuldeep. However, today, Pooran adapted his approach, opting to take singles off Kuldeep, and as a result, Kuldeep’s first three overs yielded just 16 runs.

Amid a close contest for most of the innings, King reached his half-century slightly ahead of Pooran, stepping out and smashing Chahal over long-off in the 13th over, achieving the milestone in 38 balls. Shortly after this shot, the players left the field due to a lightning warning.

After the resumption, with West Indies needing 47 runs from 42 balls, Hardik handed the ball to Tilak Varma, who bowled off-spin. In the second ball of Varma’s spell, Pooran attempted a reverse sweep but gloved it to slip, resulting in his dismissal. However, Shai Hope entered the game and played brilliantly, alleviating any concerns of a slowdown and securing victory with a six down the ground.

Suryakumar and Tilak help India recover after early blows

During the toss, Hardik stated that India aimed to test themselves by batting first, but after just three overs, it already seemed they faced a significant challenge.

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill, who had orchestrated the onslaught a day earlier, fell quickly to Akeal Hosein’s left-arm spin. Jaiswal struggled with the skid off the pitch, while Gill fell lbw to a sweep he could’ve reviewed; replays confirmed the ball would’ve missed the leg stump.

Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak turned the tide with an impressive counterattack, offsetting the early pressure. Tilak, in particular, showed great dominance against Alzarri Joseph, hitting him for 4, 6, 4, 4 in the sixth over. His six was especially daring, sweeping Joseph off the length to the deep-square-leg boundary.

At the opposite end, Suryakumar was enjoying his own exploits, lofting Hosein, flat-batting a sweep down the ground for four, and showcasing elegant drives while standing tall.

A slowdown

India’s third-wicket partnership had quickly added 49 runs in five overs, shifting the innings into high gear, but Roston Chase’s brilliance resulted in Tilak’s dismissal. What appeared to be a simple push for a single turned into a lethal play as Chase, in his follow-through, swiftly moved to his right, executed a full-length dive to snatch the ball, and erupted with a delayed appeal. It seemed like a routine check for a possible bump ball (Chase’s teammates hadn’t even appealed), but once again, it was much more than that: the West Indies camp erupted in wild fist bumps as replays confirmed that Tilak had indeed lobbed the ball straight off the bat, abruptly ending his cameo.

Soon after, Sanju Samson fell for his third low score of the series, a nine-ball 13, succumbing to Romario Shepherd’s delivery. With the score at 87 for 4 in the 11th over, Hardik seemingly chose not to risk exposing the lower order too early, opting to take his time to settle in. India went without a boundary from the 10.2nd to the 14th over, until Suryakumar unleashed a powerful strike against Shepherd and later Joseph, sending both deliveries over the ropes for sixes. The latter six was an inside-out shot over cover, allowing Suryakumar to reach his half-century off just 38 balls. With the score at 121 for 4 in 15.5 overs, it seemed India had positioned themselves for a final aggressive push when rain once again interrupted the game.

Followed by a collapse

Hardik got out shortly after play resumed, selecting a delivery to long-on, right after he had hammered Shepherd over the long-off boundary. In the following over, West Indies successfully challenged a not-out lbw decision using the DRS, leading to Suryakumar’s dismissal. From that point, the lower order completely fell apart. A lucky boundary from the last man, Mukesh (edged past the keeper), brought India’s total to 165, which was lower than the earlier promise of reaching 190. Given the direction the chase was taking, even 190 might not have been sufficient.

2 thoughts on “India’s Tour Conclusion: T20I Series Loss to West Indies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *