The year 2019 hasn’t been magnificent for India’s men’s cricket team. There was a lot of hype as the Men in Blue prepared for the ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales. However, India came short despite an impressive run of seven wins and an almost guaranteed place at the finals. Cricket fans across the world had expected India to grace the finals but the little fancied New Zealand scuttled these plans.
With the memories of The World Cup slowly fading away, fans in cricket-mad India have other places to look for inspiration. India has multiple records in the T20 series over the years but one of its performances in one of the latest series showed some chink in India’s armour.
Dominant First Display
India had already won the main game at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. India had won by six wickets to gain a lead in the arrangement. The match included Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 94 runs.
The matches against West Indies did not have had the same allure to the one of India vs. West Indies at the World Cup. However, cricket fans in India who closely follow their team’s every game wanted the Men in Blue to get emphatic wins throughout the series.
Humbling By West Indie’s
The second part of the series was at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. During the second T20I 2019, India was supposed to dominate considering its upper hand in their 15 T20I cricket matches. India had won 9 of the matches but there was a change of ground when West Indies won by eight wickets (with 9 balls remaining). The win also the three-match T20I series.
It was a scintillating all-round display from the Caribbean group. Already, the team had shown a hint of what it had in store in the first match through its batsmen Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard and Evin Lewis. Opener Lendl Simmons was in amazing form and produced an incredible knock to lead West Indies to a much-deserved win.
Simmons had much help from Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran who all left-handed batsmen that worked to negate India’s spinners. The dewy grounds didn’t make things easy for both sides though. It was a slow pitch not idea for power hitting.
It was for this reason that India sent out Shivam Dube to bat at no 3 for the first time in official cricket. The idea was to avoid risking Virat Kohli or any other accomplished batsman. Dube struggled and so did Rohit Sharma.
Rishabh Pant, despite the slow pitch, managed to 33 off 22. However, West Indies didn’t loosen the choke and Rishabh’s efforts didn’t make a dent. In a bid to force the pace, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sunda fell. Kesrick Williams and Walsh had a huge impact on the play conceding between them 58 in eight overs for four wickets.
Despite not having played international cricket for a while, Simmons was back with a bang for West Indies. The old school player with his unmatched batting style won the match for his team. He scored an unbeatable 67 runs and with an incredible strike rate of over 148.
Next was Nicholas Pooran who scored 38 off 18 balls and Shimron Hetmyer who hit 23 off 14 balls. Leg-spinner Hyden Walsh also had a great input in the impressive win.
But what went wrong for India? It was all in the poor fielding. The captain Virat Kohli was quick to accept the flaw during the post-match presentation. Indian fielders failed spectacularly and even the great display by Shivam Dube and Rishabh Pant didn’t produce the required momentum.
Indian batsmen struggled to score and this included skipper Kohli. Opener KL Rahul was also awful despite hitting an epic half-century in the first match.
Well, India went on to win the series but the problems with the fielding and the over-reliance on the top-three to bat poses a huge problem. This test series was a great platform to prepare for the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup