Krunal, Rohit power India to series-clinching 22-run win against Windies
Krunal Pandya’s all-round exploits and Rohit Sharma’s characteristically sublime half-century powered India to a series-clinching 22-run win over West Indies in the rain-affected second T20 International here on Sunday (August 4).
Batting first, India scored a challenging 167 for five and then had West Indies in all sorts of trouble at 98 for four in the 16th over when lightening and thundershowers struck. The Duckworth-Lewis par score at that point was 120, and West Indies were 22 runs behind.
Rohit Sharma top-scored with 67 off 51 balls, setting India up for a challenging total, before Krunal (20 off 13 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja propped up the innings by smashing 20 runs in the final over, which was bowled by Keemo Paul. Krunal hit the first two balls of the final over for sixes before Jadeja also found one maximum.
During his knock, Rohit became T20 international’s most prolific six-hitter, going past Chris Gayle with 106 maximums. He struck six fours and three sixes in the match.
India were off to a quick start as they crossed 50 in the seventh over, with Rohit doing the bulk of scoring.
Rohit found the gaps with ease, clipping Paul off his pads for a six over deep mid-wicket. The World Cup highest scorer then swept him for a four as the Indians upped the tempo.
Keemo Paul gave West Indies their first breakthrough when he bowled Shikhar Dhawan with the Indian scorecard reading 67 for one in the eighth over.
Two quite overs followed as Indian captain Virat Kohli joined Rohit, who broke the shackles with a six over deep mid-wicket, Sunil Narine being the bowler, and then brought up his 17th half-century in this format with a single to long-off. Nicely getting underneath the flight of left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, Kohli got going with a neat six.
Well settled at the other end, Kohli’s deputy Rohit smashed Carlos Brathwaite for a six and four, as India’s hundred came up in the 13th over.
It took a fine catch from Shimron Hetmyer to bring an end to Rohits stay in the middle — he hit one high up in the air off Oshane Thomas with just over six overs left in the Indian innings.
Rishabh Pant (5) perished quickly, top-edging Oshane into the hands of third man fielder Kieron Pollard. Sheldon Cottrell then had the big one, sending Kohli’s middle stump cartwheeling for a 23-ball 28 with a perfectly-executed yorker and performing his trademark salute celebrations.
By that time tough, Kohli had become the highest run scorer among Indians in T20 cricket, including domestic tourneys.
In reply, West Indies were off to a disastrous start with both openers Evin Lewis and Sunil Narine back in the hut, with just eight runs on the board in the third over.
Rovman Powell and Nicholas Pooran lifted West Indies from the precarious situation with a 76-run stand for the third wicket before Krunal again got into the act by removing both the batsmen in a space of three balls in the 14th over.
India had won the first match by four wickets.