India Steamroll West Indies To Win T20 Series
The India v West Indies T20 series had gone down to the wire. It was a must win game of cricket for the both the teams going into the third and final T20 game at the Wankhede, Mumbai. Stats showed that India struggled to win T20 games in 2019 when they batted first. They had batted first on 7 occasions and only won 2.
So it was no surprise that the West Indies asked India to bat on winning the toss. The Wankhede is a small stadium and India knew right away that they would have to post a big total on the board if they were to challenge West Indies.
Senior Batsmen Deliver
Rohit Sharma has had a quiet T20 series by his standards but he is a big match player. And the Wankhede is his backyard. He came to the party when it mattered and played a blistering knock hitting 71 of 34 balls at a strike rate of 208. Sharma put on a great batting display and so did his partner KL Rahul at the other end.
The two openers put on a 135 run partnership to give India a great platform. The think-tank decided to promote the out-of-form Rishabh Pant to number 3 in an effort to keep the momentum going but the young left hander did not trouble the scorers and departed for a duck.
The West Indian bowlers strung together a couple of good overs in the middle and fought back to keep themselves in the game. However, Virat Kohli decided to use the long handle and found the boundary at will. He remained unbeaten on 70 of just 29 balls with a strike rate of 241.
KL Rahul played the anchor role and fell in the final over for 91 from 34 deliveries. The Indian batsmen ended up hitting a total of 16 sixes and 19 fours in a total of 240.
West Indies suffered a blow even before they could start their innings. They lost Evin Lewis who hurt himself in the field. However, India knew that while they had a big total on the board, they still needed to get early wickets and not let the West Indies get off to a fast start.
India Make The Right Bowling Changes
The Indian selectors did not make any changes to the batting line-up. But they did make a couple of key changes to the bowling line-up – worked out well. Given the small size of the Wankhede, Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal made way for Mohammad Shami and Kuldeep Yadav.
Shami bowled with good pace up front and was responsible for dismissing the dangerous Lendl Simmons for just 7. Shimron Hetmyer (41) and captain Kieron Pollard (68) formed a good partnership and looked like they were going to be a big threat but Yadav got Hetmyer after Rahul pulled off a good catch.
The Indian fielding was a lot better this game – apart from one dropped catch by Shami. Deepak Chahar and Shami bowled very well together. The pair sent down 8 overs for just 45 runs and took 4 wickets.
Pollard played a lone hand and put up a good fight. The total, however, was a bit too much for him to chase all by himself. The West Indies could only get to 173 from their allotted 20 overs and ended up losing by 67 runs.
Rahul was awarded the man of the match award for his great batting performance. Kohli was adjudged man of the series for his brilliant knocks in the first and third T20 games.