Cricket

India overcomes Pooran-Powell attack to seal T20I series

India overcomes Pooran-Powell attack to seal T20I series

A dramatic end to an action-packed T20I at Eden Gardens as India emerged victorious to take an unassailable 2-0 series lead against West Indies.

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Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell were sublime in the chase, almost putting the game away from India, but a super over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the death helped the hosts keep their composure until the end.

The West Indies began their pursuit of 187 steadily. Fly-half Brandon King and Kyle Mayers shared a 34-point position before Yuzvendra Chahal caught and beat Mayers for 9 in the sixth. The visitors completed the Powerplay on 41/1 with Nicholas Pooran in the middle with King.

Pooran showed his intention from the first ball he faced, hitting Chahal for a four. He continued his hard shot, sending the first two balls of the next, by Harshal Patel, to a six and a four.

Rohit Sharma brought Ravi Bishnoi into the attack in the ninth and got a reward in the form of King’s wicket. Bishnoi delivered the ball straight down the lane, with King in an attempt to go big, ending up getting caught long-term for 22.

The wicket didn’t hurt the West Indies much as Pooran was joined in the middle by No. 4 hitter Rovman Powell. Together they led the charge with splendid powerful strikes, leading to a brilliant century-old position.

Pooran, who played at bat for the West Indies in the previous T20I with half a century, spoke of another. Powell, too, reached his 50s a few balls later, hitting the mark with just 28 balls. The duo almost took the game away from India but Buvneshwar Kumar resisted under pressure from his team.

In the penultimate innings, he not only took Pooran’s big wicket, but he also gave up only four runs. West Indies needed 25 from the last inning and a Carlos Brathwaite “Remember the name” as Powell’s finish. With 23 needed on the last four balls, Powell crushed Harshal Patel for two straight sixes, closing in on a dream finish before falling 9 points from target.

Earlier, West Indies captain Kieron Pollard, who made his 100th T20I appearance, won the coin toss and opted to play first. The visitors made a change on their side with Jason Holder in place of Fabian Allen while India were unchanged.

After a first inning of 11 points, India lost Ishan Kishan to Sheldon Cottrell for 2 in the next inning. The fly-half’s leading edge landed comfortably in the hands of Kyle Mayers on point.

Kishan’s wicket took Virat Kohli to No. 3. The Rohit-Kohli duo then launched the assault, mostly dealing with boundaries in the remaining Powerplay overs.

But their strong 49-point second-wicket partnership was ended by Roston Chase in the eighth. Brandon King, who dropped Rohit on 2, won the hold with the Indian skipper returning to the lodge after scoring 19.

One brought Chase two as he struck in his next over, taking a good low hold to fire Suryakumar Yadav for 8. Kohli found support in Rishabh Pant as the pair added 34 points before the latter was dropped in 14th.

Kohli, who looked in good contact, raised his 30th T20I fifty in style with a six but fell in the same on Chase, who knocked out the Indian batter for a well-done 41-ball 52.

Pant continued to play his attacking game and his partner, Venkatesh Iyer, also played some great shots. Together they shifted gears as the races poured in for India. Pant then scored an unbeaten 52 from 28 balls while Iyer was fired in the last by Romario Shepherd for a quick 18 ball 31.