After 3-0 clean sweep in ODIs, the Men in Blue go for the kill in T20s

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Virat Kohli plays a shot during the first T20 match between India and West Indies, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

Snippets of reports from the pitch and off the field as an exciting series unfolds

Our Bureau
Ahmedabad/Kolkata

Ravi Bishnoi’s two-wicket haul was backed up by quality knocks by Rohit Sharma (40) and Suryakumar Yadav (34*) as India defeated West Indies by six wickets in the first T20I of the three-match series here at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

With this win, India has gained a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and the second T20I will now be played on Friday at the same venue. Chasing 158, India got off to a quickfire start as openers Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan put on 58 runs inside the first six overs. The 64-run opening stand finally came to an end in the eighth over as Roston Chase got the better of Rohit (40). Chase got his second wicket in the 12th over as he dismissed Kishan (35) and India was reduced to 93/2, still needing 65 runs for the win.

In the next over, India was given a body blow as Fabien Allen had Virat Kohli (17) caught at the hands of skipper Kieron Pollard at long-off and this meant there were two new batters at the crease — Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav. Pant (8) failed with the bat as he was dismissed by Sheldon Cottrell and India was reduced to 114/4 in the 15th over.

In the end, Suryakumar (34*) and Venkatesh Iyer (24*) ensured that India register a six-wicket win with seven balls to spare. Earlier, Nicholas Pooran starred with the bat as he played a knock of 61 runs to help West Indies post 157/7. Sent into bat, West Indies got off to a bad start as the visitors lost Brandon King (4) on the fifth ball of the innings. Kyle Mayers and Nicholas Pooran then scored briskly and after the end of powerplay overs, West Indies’ score read 44/1. The 47-run stand for the second wicket was cut short by Yuzvendra Chahal as he had Mayers (31) adjudged leg-before wicket in the seventh over.

Ravi Bishnoi got his maiden T20I wicket in the 11th over of the innings as he had Roston Chase (4) adjudged leg-before wicket. In the very same over, Bishnoi dismissed Rovman Powell (2) and the visitors were reduced to 74/4. Nicholas Pooran kept on holding one end up and the visitors were looking for a big finish in the final overs.

West Indies Nicholas Pooran plays a shot during the first T20 match between India and West Indies, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

Wanted bowlers to have fair share to execute, says Pollard

West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard expressed disappointment after his side got thrashed by India in the first T20I of the three-match series here at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

“Between overs 6-15 we only scored 46 in 9 overs and if we had 18-20 more runs during that phase it would have been competitive. After six overs they were in front, but I thought the bowlers and fielders did really well to pull things back. Different times calls for different things, they have quality bowlers and we have to play it as we see it,” said Pollard after the game.

“The guys are working hard to get things right and again it’s just a matter of setting it up properly. The ball was wet and the bowlers were bowling high full tosses and I wanted them to have a fair share to execute. Having said that, it was a very, very good game of cricket,” he added. Chasing 158, India got off to a quickfire start as openers Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan put on 58 runs inside the first six overs. The 64-run opening stand finally came to an end in the eighth over as Roston Chase got the better of Rohit (40). Chase got his second wicket in the 12th over as he dismissed Kishan (35) and India was reduced to 93/2, still needing 65 runs for the win.

In the next over, India was given a body blow as Fabien Allen had Virat Kohli (17) caught at the hands of skipper Kieron Pollard at long-off and this meant there were two new batters at the crease — Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav. Pant (8) failed with the bat as he was dismissed by Sheldon Cottrell and India was reduced to 114/4 in the 15th over.

Have ticked lot of boxes in this series, says Rohit Sharma

India skipper Rohit Sharma expressed happiness after his side defeated West Indies by 96 runs in the third and final ODI here at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Friday.

With this win, India has got a clean sweep in the series with 3-0 lead, after clinching victory in the first two matches. “Definitely not looking at those numbers (captaincy record). Have ticked a lot of boxes in this series. Whatever we wanted to get out of this series, we pretty much got. Noise will be around as long as we’re playing. People look up to us, everybody watches us. As players, as individuals, we know what we need to focus on. Outside noise doesn’t bother the dressing room. Said it in the last game as well – never seen something like that in India (Prasidh’s spell). Good to have someone who can hit the deck and get that bounce,” said Rohit after the game.

“Although I didn’t feel like this was Indian conditions, was good to see the fast bowlers actually. Was also impressed with Siraj. And then Shardul and Deepak did the job for us. Both Kuldeep and Chahal are crucial players for us. Especially Kuldeep. Chahal was very much in the plans and Kuldeep went off the radar. It was important to get him back slowly. Important to give them that confidence. We start expecting things early than expected, important to give them some cushion. Pretty sure we’ll see them together soon,” he added.

Chasing 267, the visitors began with a pathetic start as opener Shai Hope had to depart after getting LBW by Mohammed Siraj for just 5 runs, leaving the team’s total at 19/1. It was followed by Brandon King and Shamarh Brooks’ dismissal by Deepak Chahar at 25/3 in the fifth over.

Later, Darren Bravo joined skipper Nicholas Pooran and the duo tried to get some runs for their side, but Krishna Prasidh sent the former back to the dug out in the 14th over with only 68 runs on the board. Jason Holder was also dismissed for only six runs by the pacer. Kuldeep Yadav also scalped two wickets and dismissed Pooran and Fabian Allen on 34 and zero, respectively.

Then it was Odean Smith, who came to crease and played a knock of 36 runs in just 18 balls and brought some hopes for West Indies. But, their happiness was short-lived as he got caught by Shikhar Dhawan on Siraj’s delivery, with the team’s total at 122/8.

Alzarri Joseph and Hayden Walsh joined hands to stitch a good partnership but their efforts went in vain after Siraj struck again and scalped Walsh’s wicket. Then, Krishna put the last nail on the coffin and sent Joseph back and dismantled the visitors at 169/10, to register a victory by 96 runs.

Saba Karim backs Virat Kohli despite failure in ODI series

Virat Kohli has been a pale shadow of his old self with the bat in the 3-match ODI series against the West Indies. The former India captain could only score 8, 18 and a duck in the ODI series but former India wicket-keeper batter Saba Karim has come to the defence of the talisman.

“Everyone is talking about @imVkohli poor form. But I don’t think it’s time to press the panic button. The slump in form is part and parcel of the game. Even greats like @sachin_rt and Gavaskar had to deal with the challenges of high expectations. This too shall pass! #INDvWI” tweeted former India wicket-keeper Saba Karim. Virat Kohli has managed to score only 26 runs in three innings at an average of 8.66. From the year 2020 till now Virat has played 18 ODIs scoring 702 runs at an average of 39 with 9 half-centuries and no centuries. The talisman’s last international ton across formats came in a Test match on 23rd November 2019 against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Virat Kohli’s lean patch is not unusual as many great players in the past have gone through it and former cricketer Saba Karim is backing him to come out of it sooner than later.

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