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2nd T20I: India clinch series with 8-run victory despite Powell's dynamic knock

Kolkata, February 18, 2022

A power-hitting show from Nicholas Pooran (62) and Rovman Powell (68 not out) was not enough for West Indies to stop India from winning the second T20I by eight runs in the second T20I at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.

Put in to bat first, India, powered by a fluent 52 from Virat Kohli followed by a rapid 76-run partnership between Rishabh Pant (52 not out) and Venkatesh Iyer (33), reach an impressive 186/5 in 20 overs.

Set to chase 186, West Indies needed 29 off the last two overs. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel kept their calm to bowl India to winning the match and series.

Kumar and Deepak Chahar kept the openers Brandon King and Kyle Mayers in check till the former drove down the ground. King and Mayers slammed a boundary each till Yuzvendra Chahal separated the duo in the final over of power-play. Chahal cramped Mayers for room, leading in the attempted flick giving a top-edge to the leg-spinner for an easy catch.

Pooran, who slammed a fifty in the first match, hit boundaries off Chahal and Patel to kickstart his innings. He was also fortunate in surviving a run-out attempt from Kohli. West Indies' struggle against spin continued as King skipped down the pitch to loft but holed out to long-on off Ravi Bishnoi.

Pooran received another life at 21 when Bishnoi dropped his catch off Chahal. To rub salt into the wound, Pooran slammed a colossal slog-sweep over deep square leg for six. Pooran then crunched Chahar for a fierce pull through deep mid-wicket. Powell, on the other hand, slammed a six each off Chahar and Bishnoi over long leg and long-off respectively to keep West Indies in the hunt.

Powell and Pooran collected a four each off Bishnoi as West Indies now needed 63 runs off the last five overs. Powell was given a reprieve at 38 when Kumar couldn't complete a catch off his own bowling. In the next over, Powell smoked Chahar over deep mid-wicket, which was followed by Pooran reaching his second fifty on the trot in 34 balls with a six over fine leg.

Powell reached his fifty in 28 balls as Pooran snatched a four off Patel to bring the equation to 29 runs off the last two overs. In a bid to go big, Pooran miscued the slog off Kumar and Bishnoi, under pressure at cover, held on to the catch. Kumar gave away just four runs in a brilliant 19th over.

But Powell hammered back-to-back sixes, including a 102-m hit, over long-on, to keep Patel under pressure. Patel, unfazed by the sixes, held his nerve to concede two singles in the last two balls to seal the series for India.

Earlier, off-spinner Roston Chase was the pick of the West Indies bowlers, taking 3/25 and leaving India in some trouble in the middle overs. But Pant and Iyer smoked 62 runs in the last five overs to give India a strong total to defend with dew coming into the equation.

After Akeal Hosein conceded four byes and two no-balls in a 10-run opening over, Sheldon Cottrell troubled Ishan Kishan with swing. The effort succeeded as Kishan's struggle ended with the left-handed batter trying to flick but gave a leading edge to point.

Kohli began his innings with a well-timed flick followed by a premeditated paddle off Akeal Hosein. Rohit Sharma was dropped on two by Brandon King at point and to rub salt on the wound, Sharma slammed a late cut through point off Cottrell in the same over.

Kohli and Sharma continued their boundary-hitting spree against Jason Holder in the fifth over. Kohli welcomed Holder with a crunchy drive through cover while Sharma pulled nonchalantly over mid-wicket for another boundary. Kohli then cracked back-to-back boundaries off Romario Shepherd on both sides of the 'v' while Sharma ended the power-play phase with a six mistimed over cover.

Post power-play, Sharma's innings was cut short at 19 when he tried to slog off Roston Chase but sliced to extra cover. Suryakumar Yadav got off the mark by using the pace off a ball from Hosein for a boundary past backward point. But in the next over, Yadav chipped a drive off the inner half of the bat and was snapped by Chase diving to his left.

From the other end, Kohli was taking ones and twos while cracking the occasional boundary. Kohli reached his fifty in 39 balls with a slog over long-on. He had luck on his side as Holder stationed at long-on couldn't hold on to the catch. But on the fourth ball, Kohli pushed forward for a single only to be beaten by turn from Chase and was bowled through the gate.

Pant and Iyer amassed 29 runs from the 15th and the 16th overs collectively to set India up for a big flourish in the last four overs. The left-handed duo ran hard for their singles while slamming some lovely shots all around the ground. Pant's one-handed whip, resembling MS Dhoni's helicopter shot, was the standout shot from the partnership where he and Iyer were the aggressors in equal measure.

The 76-run partnership off just 35 balls ended when Shepherd sent Iyer's off-stump on a walk with a full yorker. Pant then reached his fifty on the second last ball of the innings to remain unbeaten on 52.

Brief Scores: India 186/5 in 20 overs (Rishabh Pant 52 not out, Virat Kohli 52, Roston Chase 3/25, Sheldon Cottrell 1/20) beat West Indies 178/3 in 20 overs (Rovman Powell 68 not out, Nicholas Pooran 62, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/29, Ravi Bishnoi 1/30) by eight runs

IANS

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