Clinical India aim to seal series against West Indies
Kolkata, Feb 17 (PTI) Clinic in most aspects of the game so far, India are now hoping that star hitter Virat Kohli will also find his form when they face struggling West Indies in the potentially decisive second T20 International here Friday.
The touring West Indies side have been far from their best and have so far failed to trouble the hosts in any of the matches.
After being outscored 0-3 at the ODI leg in Ahmedabad, the Kieron Pollard-led side were set to give India a challenge in their preferred T20 format, especially after a 3-2 win over England in the of his last series at home.
But they barely managed to bother the hosts in the first T20I here on Wednesday, down six wickets.
Another victory and it will be a third straight win for Rohit Sharma after being named full-time captain of Team India.
The only concern for India has been Kohli’s form and he would definitely want a bigger shot than the scores of 8, 18, 0 and 17 so far in the mission.
Rohit is confident he would come out okay and has asked both critics and the media to spare him the constant scrutiny.
For his part, Rohit knows the importance of going strong on the power play, something that was on full display in his 19-ball 40s when he took Odean Smith to the cleaners in an over that conceded 22 runs.
While Ishan Kishan looked ordinary and struggled to start at the other end, Rohit made the bulk of the 58 points India scored on the power play, meaning they’re never fell behind the pursuit of 158 runs despite losing three quick wickets down the middle. .
After Rohit came out in the eighth, Kohli had the perfect opportunity to come back among the runs and seal the chase. But that wasn’t the case even though Kohli seemed fluid during his short 13-17 spell.
On any other day his inside shot would have been a clear boundary, but this time he hit the defender directly.
As for Ishan, the most expensive buy (Rs 15.25 crore) of the IPL 2022 auction, he was unable to score freely and failed to rotate the strike when Rohit had the sublime look.
But thanks to Rohit’s innings at the top, things didn’t go much further than India as Suryakumar Yadav and Venkatesh Iyer applied magnificently to seal the chase.
As India opted for a six-bowler combination with Venkatesh, in-form batsman Shreyas Iyer had to sit out the opening game.
It remains to be seen what will be Rohit’s ploy in the second T20I that can seal the series‘ fate for India.
“We were very clear with Shreyas, we told him that the team wanted this option (of an all-rounder) for the World Cup. We need this option in the middle, someone who can bowl” , Rohit said after the game.
“A lot of things go into deciding the playing XI, the opposition, the conditions, the pitch dimensions. Unfortunately, we want to put the team first.” India will also be worried about the injury of pacemaker Deepak Chahar who suffered a blow to his right hand while on the pitch and was unable to complete his quota.
Seeking their first victory of the tour, this would be a game-breaking game for the Windies.
They are eagerly awaiting the return of their allrounder Jason Holder, who had to miss the first T20I following a problem.
“He was shot in the chest during training and was not ready for the first game and was taken out as a precaution. We hope he will be back for the next game,” an official said. ‘team.
For them, the only bright spot on Wednesday was the return to form of their vice-captain Nicholas Pooran with the bat.
Fresh off of his Rs 10.75 crore deal with Sunrisers Hyderabad, the left-handed wicket-keeper hitter restarted the Windies’ innings with a 50-38 run, which came after fly-half Kyle Mayers failed to convert his departure.
Pooran and a fit-again skipper, Kieron Pollard, revved up the throttle in the final five overs scoring 61 runs to take their tally to 157/7.
But in the end it turned out to be 15-20 points down, turning the focus back to their center during struggles where Indian debutant Ravi Bishnoi made it difficult for the visitors.
With Holder back in business and Pooran and Pollard starting to look their grim best, West Indies would love their chances of keeping the series alive.
Squads: India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, Kuldeep Yadav and Harpreet Brar.
Antilles: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Brandon King, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Kyle Mayers, Hayden Walsh Jr.
Match start: 7 p.m. IST. PTI TAP PM PM
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