India defeated the West Indies by 17 runs in the third and final T20 International on Sunday to complete a 3-0 series sweep against the visitors at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
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After posting 184/5, thanks to a 91-run fifth-wicket stand between the player of the match and series Suryakumar Yadav and Venkatesh Iyer, India restricted the Windies to 167/9.
After the match, India captain Rohit Sharma hailed the team's ability to defend targets. In the second T20I on Wednesday, India defended another 180+ target (after scoring 186/5) to win the match by eight wickets with Bhuvneshwar Kumar producing a stunning penultimate over against the big-hitting Windies.
"The team that used to chase, there are not many people here from that squad. We wanted to bat first and chase as well. Because our middle order is fairly new," said Rohit at the post-match presentation.
Bhuvi was one of the four players rested for the tour finale, but his understudies were exemplary. Taking the field with only one spinner in Ravi Bishnoi, India needed the pacers to perform. And they did, including part-timer Venkatesh Iyer, who stepped up like a seasoned all-rounder.
Chahar provided the early breakthroughs with the wickets of openers Kyle Mayers and Shai Hope, then hobbled off with figures of 2/15 in 1.5 overs. Venky then claimed the prized wickets of Kieron Pollard and Jason Holder even as India were forced to complete the four overs from off-colour debutant Avesh Khan (0/42). But there were Shardul Thakur and Harshal Patel, replicating their Indian Premier League form.
"Happy with the series. Pretty much got everything we wanted. We do understand we are very young as a team. We are still a good chasing side, but a lot of the players are missing... It was pleasing to see guys bailing the team out from situations. Good sign moving forward as a group and something to be proud of," the skipper added.
For Rohit, it was his third successive clean sweep as full-time skipper, having earlier defeated New Zealand (0-3) in T20Is and West Indies (0-3) in ODIs. The win also matched their 2020 record of nine successive victories on the trot.
"The biggest takeaway in the ODIs was the middle order making it count. I was impressed with our seam bowling in ODIs. And even here. Harshal is new. Avesh is on debut. Shardul is in and out.
"So we wanted to see how the guys react and it was a good challenge to defend in both games against a quality West Indies team," the 34-year-old Mumbaikar added.
India are now the top-ranked T20 side in the world. Just the perfect motivation before taking on Sri Lanka in a three-match series in Lucknow, starting Thursday.
Besides, this is also a T20 World Cup year.
"Few guys miss out for the Sri Lanka series because we want to keep them fresh. But we have the World Cup in mind and we are trying to give game time for individuals. I am not someone who looks at the opposition, I would like to see what we can do as a team," added Rohit.