2nd T20I: West Indies beat India by 5 wickets, level series
- West Indies beat India by 5 wickets to level the series
- Obed McCoy's brilliant performance helped the hosts win the match
- This was the second of the five T20Is sceduled
West Indies' highest T20I bowling numbers were 6/17 by Obed McCoy, which set the tone for the hosts' five-wicket series-leveling victory in St. Kitts on Monday.
The bowler started with a wicket-maiden and finished with four wickets to end India's innings on 138 in Game 2 of the five-match series. Brandon King began the chase with a stroke-filled 68, but middle-overs stutters put them in a bind until Devon Thomas produced the concluding act with his 19-ball unbeaten 31 to enable the hosts gain series parity.
India's strike rate at the end of their first seven overs was 9, in keeping with their new attacking mentality. That came at the expense of four top-order wickets. Rohit Sharma, startled by extra bounce, fell to McCoy's first delivery of the game, which began three hours late owing to logistical issues. McCoy struck with the opening ball of his second over as well, tempting temporary opener Suryakumar Yadav into a long drive that forced the keeper to take a thick outside edge.
Alzarri Joseph, whose first over provided 17 runs and six wickets to Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer, came after exchanging ends and dismissed the latter, who was again undone by extra bounce. Rishabh Pant, who had opened his account with a legside six, gave spinner Akeal Hosein the opportunity only to pick out deep midwicket with precision and fall for a 12-ball 24.
India's greatest partnership in the game, worth 43 points, was what kept the total respectable and prevented a catastrophic collapse. Hosein (1/22) and Holder's (2/23) ability to get in a few modest overs on the trot was responsible for it coming in 7.1 overs and greatly slowing India down in the middle overs phase.
In the 11th over, Jadeja blasted one over Hosein's head and directly into the sightscreen, and Pandya then followed it with one off Odean Smith in the next over. Holder slammed the breaks with a slower one to take down Hardik for a run-a-ball 31 just as the duo appeared to be shifting gears.
Windies continued to fall in the economical overs, and India, who had reached 100 in the 13th over, could only manage 117 at the end of the 17th over when McCoy returned and played havoc with his slower ones. He first dismissed Jadeja, who was holed out to long-on looking for a release shot.
McCoy's triple strikes in the last over nipped the Dinesh Karthik threat in the bud, stopped Ashwin's cameo, and had Bhuvneshwar Kumar caught behind (although off a reluctant review) to gun down India for their lowest first-innings score in the Caribbean.
In stark contrast to how India's innings began, King set the tone with a stunning first-ball square-drive for four off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Off consecutive deliveries, he cut Arshdeep to the fence, swiped both Jadeja and Ashwin before sending the ball one straight down the ground to end a wicketless powerplay.
West Indies may have trailed India for the whole of their chase - they were 46/0 after powerplay and hit the century only in the 15th over - but King held one end up magnificently to put his team in the hunt despite losing three batters at the other end. His 39-ball fifty, his first against India, propelled West Indies forward, despite India's change bowlers, led by Hardik Pandya (1-22), who struck the first ball after powerplay, sneaking in a few quiet overs.
From a comfortable position of 75 required from 72 deliveries with nine wickets in hand, India managed to tighten their grip and reduce it to 27 off the final three overs. When the hosts sought a release shot, Thomas stepped in to assist twice. Arshdeep had a very economical 17th over to increase the pressure and the hosts' asking rate.
However, Thomas risked with a cutter from Hardik in the 18th over deep midwicket to reduce the equation to a reasonable 16 off the final two balls. Arshdeep eked out another tight over, yorking Rovman Powell and giving up only six points. When Avesh stepped over the line for the first ball of the final over, Thomas seized on and slapped the free-hit over deep extra cover to end the chase before completing the formalities with a four following ball.