Kohli, Rishabh and bowlers help India take 2-0 lead in the three match series; Powell's 68 goes in vain
Brief Scores: India 186/5 (Pant 52*, Kohli 52, Chase 3/20) beat West Indies 178/3 (Powell 68*, Pooran 62, Kumar 1/29) by 8 runs
After a poor batting show in the first T20I, West Indies aimed to make a comeback in the series while hosts India eyed to claim the trophy by taking an unbeatable lead at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. West Indies captain Kieron Pollard, in his 100th T20I game, would love to make the occasion memorable.
The 22-yards at Eden Gardens
The track in the second innings appeared to be a bit tacky given some of the balls were misbehaving as the spinners were getting enough purchase. Even though the huge amount of dew in the second innings might have forced the captains to chase.
West Indies opted to bowl; Jason Holder returned
West Indies captain Kieron Pollard won the toss and made no hesitation in opting to bowl first. While India went with the same side, the visitors welcomed a fit Jason Holder in the side for Fabien Allen.
Rohit-Kohli hold fort in action-packed powerplay; India 49/1 after powerplay
India, after a decent first over, lost Ishan Kishan for another low score; this time on a laborious 2 off 10. After surviving a review, a leading edge in a flick shot played by Ishan Kishan was caught at backward point.
Virat Kohli came to the middle with full confidence opening his account with a delightful boundary. Even though the men in maroon dried up the runs by bowling in the right channels, the last over of the powerplay went for 15 runs that propelled India to 49/1 at the end of 6 overs.
India at a stable position shouldering on Kohli’s fifty; India at 124/4 after 15 overs
Again, the man who exhibited his spin magic in the last game, Roston Chase provided West Indies their second wicket as captain Rohit Sharma, after a rare struggling knock, attempted a huge hit but didn’t get the innovation and found the cover fielder. Suryakumar Yadav too hit the ball straight to the bowler who grabbed a good low catch. At the halfway mark, India at 76/3, were in a little spot of bother.
Virat Kohli, on one end, after a speedy start lost the plot in the middle as runs weren't coming off his bat. Even though in between that he notched up another T20I fifty. At last, Roston Chase on another golden day with the ball capped off his spell getting the big fish, Kohli for 52. India might have slipped from this point on but Venkatesh Iyer and Rishabh Pant took charge to hit the West Indies bowlers all over the park. India raced on to 124/4 at the 15th over mark.
Pant-Iyer fired India to 186/5 in 20 overs
The last 5 overs saw nothing but loads of runs. Pant and Iyer were just sending the ball in all corners as India scored 62 runs with mostly boundaries and sixes that flashed out in the scoreboard to propel them to 186/5.
Rishabh Pant, with a couple, brought up his third T20I half-century and co-incidentally, all have come against the Caribbean side. This time, he touched the 50-mark in just 26 balls and he received full support from the other end as Venkatesh Iyer too scored a quick fire 33, of which most came in 4s and 6s. It was such a competitive total but West Indies would rely on their heavy powerful batters.
India kept the powerplay in check with a decent ER; WI at 41/1
West Indies began their chase in a decent way with a probable aim of not losing too many wickets in the first 6 overs. Few boundaries were coming from here and there as Rohit introduced Yuzvendra Chahal early in the game and he straightaway made an impact as he dismissed Kyle Mayers who wasn’t in full flow.
Nicholas Pooran started from where he left in the last game. But West Indies could only reach 41/1 after six overs.
Pooran-Powell turned the table in middle overs; WI at 124/2 after 15 overs
Rohit brought on leggie Ravi Bishnoi who won the player of the match award on his debut, and he gifted India the wicket of Brandon King whose struggle in the middle with 22 off 30 balls came to an end. Rovman Powell was in another mood as he was just slapping the bowlers with such power. The visitors required 114 in the last 10 overs.
The partnership between Pooran and Powell threatened to steal the momentum from India’s court and the home team’s captain had to do something to effect a breakthrough. Almost one boundary was coming in every over as the required run rate was still in the hands of the batting side. With 8 wickets in hand, West Indies needed 63 runs in the last five overs and even though they were level with India in terms of the scores at that stage, they were just inches ahead in terms of the match situation.
Bhuvneshwar-Harshal remained cool to help India seal the series 2-0
Catches were dropped and India were behind in terms of the over rate. The runs were coming at ease as both the batters seemed to break the ball in two parts. With a six over the third man fence, Nicholas Pooran cracked a second consecutive T20I half-century. Rovman Powell too got to his half-century; the game was running towards a most thrilling finish.
The hundred run partnership did come up but with every dot, the pressure was getting on to the batters in this see-saw battle of swinging fortunes. Pooran, with a huge swing of the bat, was dismissed for a magnificent 62-run knock. A four-run golden penultimate over from the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar took India almost over the line.
Powell did his best with two huge back-to-back sixes but Harshal Patel held his nerve to help India claim the series 2-0 with still a match to go.
What to look forward to
With the series already being done and dusted, the two-time world champions will want to finish this nightmarish tour on a high while India will surely want to give some game time to their bench strength in the dead rubber which will again be played at the iconic Eden Gardens on February 20.
Here are some of the top twitter reactions from INDvsWI, 2nd T20I, Kolkata: