Three years ago, India was invited to win first place in the semifinals of the T20 World Cup by the same team in the same field under similar conditions. They lost only two wickets in their 20 overs, but they may not have known that their 192 was “only” 192 in these T20 cricket conditions. Three years later, in the decisive series at Wankhede Stadium, India had persistent doubts about whether they had abandoned their conservatism.
The answer was a resounding yes with his three main drummers taking two, two and five balls to reach his first limit. And the big hits keep coming while Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli have reached 35 limits between them in just 119 balls. India’s attitude was clear: if it is difficult to defend the totals in this format, they would give their players a much higher than average total, or fire them in the attempt. Under the mountain of tracks, the West Indies, struck by an Evin Lewis wound, collapsed dramatically. What will please India is that it is the second decision-maker in the consecutive series that they won first.
Start as you want to continue
It can be argued that India lost this semifinal of 2016 in the first power game when Ajinkya Rahane reached an attack rate of around 100. Here, Sharma and Rahul came forward. Sharma even made a technical change, opening his front leg to look at Sheldon Cottrell. He threw his bat on the second ball he faced and crushed it on the cover. Rahul made the same second ball he faced, getting a thick outer edge after sliding. It was remarkable because it is known that Sharma takes his time before starting to hit, but here he took the lead over Rahul, who reached him early. The two reached 200 in the power game, giving India their second-best power game at the beginning, 17 more than they scored in 2016.
After the power game, Sharma replaced the chief assailant, throwing Khary Pierre six, six and four in the eighth. India 102 by 0 of eight overs.
Walsh and Williams slow India
Amid the carnage, Hayden Walsh canceled the ninth without limit. India caught a six and two or four in the 11th, but in the 12th, Kesrick Williams was able to defeat Sharma with a slower leg cutter. This led to a promotion for Rishabh Pant, who tried to overcome the limits of the two balls he faced. He missed one and drilled the second in a row until the end. The idea was good, but his dismissal had supported the West Indies with a game spell that said 17 balls, 13 runs, two wickets. India 145 for 3 in 13.5 overs.
The last 14 from above, with his score of two to four, Kohli went to get his second job and sent him to Midwicket for a six. This was the beginning of an attack that was the need of the moment with Rahul that had slowed down due to a combination of fatigue and the need for stability at one end. Again, as in the first T20I of this series, it is a Jason Holder in which Kohli separated. This fifteenth time of more than 22 points seemed to have returned to India with 173 for 2.
Williams then returned to play an excellent 16th place where Kohli and Rahul struggled to pick up their pace, scoring only three points. Cottrell followed him with a decent at 11. India 187 for 2 after 17.
Pollard now had one in each of his gunners, Williams and Cottrell, but three envelopes in the bowl. He had to decide when to throw the best player of the night, Williams, and who to use for the third. Both calls went terribly wrong for the West Indies. Williams was invited to play two in a row, and it turned out that Rahul and Kohli had the measure of him. Both waited for the slower ball, hitting a six each, giving Kohli the last word in what was an entertaining competition between the two.
Well, it turned out that Kohli wasn’t done with Williams yet. Pollard faced him to play on 19, and Kohli found himself trapped, hitting three six, India getting 27 points at the end. The second of these six brought the fifth-fastest T20I in India, and Kohli pointed the bat at Williams with a short, thin leg. Ladies and gentlemen, that was the last word.
India is fine
Apart from Walsh and Williams, Lewis was the only man who had a good day in the field. During the first exchanges, he made a ridiculous stop over the limit, put the ball back into play, jumped over the limit boards, came back and almost chased Sharma in the second race. In the twelfth place, when he made a regulatory stop at the fence, he stuck his knee on the ground, causing soft tissue damage that excluded him from the rest of the game.
In Lewis’s absence and facing a difficult task, the West Indies felt the pressure early enough and began shooting low percentage shots. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar got a wicket, but the biggest positive was the return of Mohammed Shami. A skilled bowler who played against an Allrounder, Shami seemed the hardest bowler to hit, and also eliminated the dangerous Lendl Simmons. West Indies 19 by 3 after four overs.
Full printing of blinking light
Pollard and Shimron Hetmyer gave India a quick scare by effortlessly hitting 60 points in the next five overs. In the sixth, Hetmyer had Kuldeep Yadav, who had replaced Yuzvendra Chahal, who had been dismantled by left-handed drummers. The first two balls were again six effortlessly, and the third around the door was a full draw. Six seemed to be well lit, but Hetmyer launched it in the long run.
This wicket-induced slowdown took the problem beyond the West Indies, but Pollard’s flame continued to falter in his homeland of IPL. It was on the 15th that Kumar got rid of Pollard for a career record of 68, but 100 of the 31 required at that time were anyway unlikely.