Clever bowling in the final two overs and fifties from Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant powered India to a series-clinching eight-run victory against West Indies in the second T20 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday. This was India’s 100th international win in the format and eighth in a row.
Needing 29 runs in the last two overs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar made up his dropped catch (Rovman Powell on 38) with four runs and a wicket in the penultimate over before Harshal Patel kept his cool in the last six balls to win the match for India despite being hit for two sixes by Rovman Powell.
Chasing 187 to win, Brandon King and Kyle Mayers gave West Indies a sedate start racing to 59/2 in 8.3 overs. However, the dismissal of both the openers brought Nicholas Pooran and Powell together as the duo dispatched the Indian bowlers all around the park.
Pooran (62 off 41 balls) and Powell (68 off 36 balls not out) put on 100 runs for the third wicket and dragged West Indies very close to the first win of the tour but, in the end, it was India who had the last laugh. West Indies finally finished at 178/3 in 20 overs. Pooran was also dropped by Ravi Bishnoi on 21.
Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar and Yuzvendra Chahal took a wicket apiece for India. It was also Rohit Sharma’s second successive T20 series win after becoming India’s full-time captain. The last series win was against New Zealand in November 2021.
Earlier, sent into bat first, Virat Kohli looked like a man on a mission as he returned to form following a string of low scores in the ongoing limited-overs series. After his 8, 18, 0 in the ODIs and 17 in the first T20 against the Caribbean, Kohli looked in great composure and in clear mind en route to his 30th international fifty in the format.
The former captain’s sheer elegance was on full display as he cut, pulled and also took the aerial route as India despite Roston Chase exposed the Indian middle-order with a 3 for 25 in four overs. This was also Kohli’s first fifty since the 57 versus Pakistan in the T20 World Cup in Dubai last year.
India were off to a poor start after Ishan Kishan was dismissed early in the second over, Kohli along with Rohit Sharma put on 49 runs before the India captain was caught by Brandon Kings off Roston Chase. Suryakumar Yadav followed suit soon with India at 72/3 in the 10th over.
Luck also favoured Kohli on 46 as the former skipper was dropped by Jason Holder at the long-on boundary that went for a six. However, he was out two balls later and was cleaned up by Chase trying to play across the line.
It was a Rishabh Pant-Venkatesh Iyer show after that as the duo took on the Windies bowlers at will with a 76-run partnership from 35 balls. Pant remained unbeaten on 52 off 28 balls while Iyer contributed with an 18-ball 33 to take India to 186 for 5 in 20 overs.
Brief Scores: India 186 for 5 in 20 overs (Rishabh Pant 52 not out, Virat Kohli 52; Roston Chase 3/25) beat West Indies 178/3 in 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 62; Rovman Powell 68 not out; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/29) by eight runs.