Restricting West Indies to 149 in Brian Lara Cricket Academy was a commendable effort by the bowling unit of India. Led by Kuldeep Yadav and Arshdeep Singh, the performance matched the standard on a pitch that is designed for a perfect T20 match. However, Indian openers failed to ignite the innings the way in which they should have done. Disappointing would be the right word for a pair that went missing in the powerplay.
Adding to that issue was promoting Suryakumar Yadav for the second wicket. His number three position is likely to spark a debate if continuity is being considered by their skipper Pandya. That was close to the opener, and Yadav is not a match for that position. Losing the first T20 was unexpected, let alone the margin of 4 runs. Tilak Varma brought a fighting total of 39 runs for 22 balls. But that was it, no support from the other end as Hardik Pandya got bowled for a strike rate of 100.
Something above 100 is only reasonable despite the target. Hosts were aiming to touch 170. That looked possible when Nicholas Pooran entered the field. His momentum from the US league put him up in a position where he was stepping outside the pitch for in-the-air shots. Pandya’s throw finally delivered the blow and gave India the much-needed breakthrough. Brandon King was on a similar patch. His strike rate of 147.37 in just 19 balls was a promising start.
Kyle Myers scored a single and then could not rotate the strike. That pressured him to struggle, and Chahal got a wicket on his very first spell.
Rovman Powell played a captain’s innings. Even though the right-handed batter missed his 5th T20I half-century by 2 runs, the Indies skipper made sure that the team was positioned to contest the match against the number 1 ranked side. Interestingly, West Indies are ranked 7th on the official website of ICC.
Indian openers went back to the dugout in the powerplay for a total of 9 runs. Tilak Varma caught a high-end catch when fielding and showcased the same spirit in his batting. Axar Patel covered up his bowling by hitting a single 6 and putting up 13 runs from his side on the scoreboard. India was actually the favorite to win the event per most of the best betting sites for cricket. That would have happened if it were not for the fall of Pandya and Samson in the same – 16th. Both went back just 1 ball apart. While Pandya was seen missing the wicket, Samson missed the call and got run out for the short.
Arshdeep Singh came out as a surprise package by hitting 2-4s; however, he too became a victim of falling short for the crease. The 16th over was a turning point for the Indies. For India, it was the 19th over because that is when the last striker departed – Axar Patel.
West Indies are leading a series of 5-T20s by 1-0. The next fixture is scheduled to happen on August 06, 2023, at 8 pm IST, in Providence Stadium.