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India vs West Indies, 2nd T20I – Talking Points

The batters from both India and West Indies put on a show in the second T20I at Eden Gardens and the game went down to a wire. However, the Indian bowlers held their nerve and helped the hosts gain an unbeatable lead of 2-0 in this three-match T20I series.

Virat Kohli struck a solid half-century before Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 52 and Venkatesh Iyer’s cameo of 33 took India to 186/5 in their 20 overs. Akeal Hosein and Roston Chase were the stars for West Indies and barring them, none of the West Indian bowlers displayed any sort of control.

In reply, West Indies didn’t have the best of starts and they were 59/2 in the ninth over. However, some brutal hitting from Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell kept them in the hunt. Both batters hit half-centuries and threatened to take West Indies over the line. However, the Indian bowlers executed their plans pretty well and helped India win by eight runs.

Here are the talking points from the match.

Virat Kohli takes charge early; scores 30th T20I half-century

Ishan Kishan struggled to get going for the second game in a row and Sheldon Cottrell ended his misery in the third over. Virat Kohli strode out to the middle with a spring in his step and reached the middle even before Kishan crossed the 30-yard circle. He looked charged up right from the get-go.

He raced away to 27 off 15 balls and it included six boundaries. It seemed like he would keep going but a couple of wickets at the other end slowed him down. The former Indian skipper consolidated in the middle-overs and notched up his 30th T20I half-century which sent him up level with Rohit Sharma for most fifty-plus scores in T20I cricket. Just when it looked like Kohli was ready to launch and move up the gears, Roston Chase knocked him over for 52.

Roston Chase continues to impress

In the first T20I, Roston Chase was the best bowler for West Indies. The off-spinning all-rounder took 2/14 from his four overs. He continued his impressive form in this game. He got rid of the Indian captain Rohit Sharma in his very first over and it was the second time in a row that Rohit fell to Chase. In his next over, Chase had Suryakumar Yadav caught and bowled to reduce India to 106/4. He bowled tight lines and barely gave anything away in the rest of his spell before he knocked over Kohli in his final over to finish with figures of 3/25.

Rishabh Pant, Venkatesh Iyer provide a flourishing finish

When Kohli was dismissed, India’s score read 106/4 in the 14th over. Rishabh Pant was batting on 13 when Venkatesh Iyer joined him in the middle. This was India’s last recognised batting pair as the bowling all-rounders were to follow. However, the duo of Pant and Iyer blasted away and put the pressure back on the West Indian bowlers.

It was Pant who started the onslaught by hitting Kieron Pollard for three fours in the 15th over before Iyer punished Cottrell in the following over. The pair got fours and sixes at will and almost every over was a big one. During their partnership, no over went under 12, such was the hitting on display by the left-handed duo. They shared a fabulous 76-run stand for the fifth wicket and it came in just 35 balls. That partnership helped India go past the 180-run mark and finish with 186.

Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell keep West Indies in the hunt

West Indies had a sedate start to their run-chase. The opening stand put on 34 runs but Yuzvendra Chahal drew first blood for India in the sixth over as he dismissed Kyle Mayers. Ravi Bishnoi then got the wicket of Brandon King to put India ahead. The visitors were 59/2 in the ninth over and the required rate at that stage was well past 11.

That’s when Rovman Powell joined Nicholas Pooran in the middle. The latter was already batting on 21 off 12 deliveries and looked to be in prime form. Pooran was then dropped by Bishnoi in the 10th over and from then on, the Pooran-Powell duo took the attack to the Indian bowlers. They struck fours and sixes regularly and that kept up with the asking rate.

Both batters notched up their respective half-centuries and kept West Indies in the hunt. But Pooran was dismissed in the 19th over which derailed the momentum and despite two sixes from Powell in the final over, they fell short.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fantastic 19th over, Harshal Patel holds nerve to help India seal the series

With 37 needed off the final three overs and both Pooran and Powell going all out and in full flow, West Indies may have fancied their chances. Moreover, there seemed to be quite a bit of dew on the field. But Harshal Patel bowled a pretty good 18th over. He conceded just four runs off the first five balls before Pooran struck a boundary of the last ball.

29 runs were required in the last two overs but Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a fabulous penultimate over. He got rid of the dangerous Pooran and gave away a mere four runs. He executed his yorkers well and also mixed it up well with the slower ones.

Patel had 25 runs in the bank and he nailed his yorkers on the first two balls. However, Powell smashed two successive sixes to send some jitters in the Indian camp. But Patel held his nerve and conceded two singles off the last two balls to seal the game and series for India.

Also Read: Joe Root vs Virat Kohli: Who comes out on top?

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