August 11, 2022

Spinners Rip Through The Windies As India Ends The Series With A 4-1 Win

 By Aveenash Sekhar


India ended their T20 series 4-1 as they steamrolled past the West Indies for 88 runs as the spinners ran riot over their batting lineup at Central Broward Park. For the final T20 game, the men in blue made four substitutions by resting captain Rohit Sharma, teammate Surya Kumar Yadav, dashing left-hander Ishan Kishan, who plays for the same squad, and Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer, whose lack of consistency was debatable but never his skill.

Little dynamite Rishab Pant was replaced by a stand-in skipper and Hardik Pandya, who exudes confidence, entered the game. Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav took the place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

The West Indies side, too, made four changes by resting Brandon King and Kyle Mayers, who had a decent series with all-rounder Odean Smith and former T20 West Indies player of the year Keemo Paul. The other two changes were Hayden Walsh on for fast bowler Alzarri Joseph and Shamarh Brooks replaced Akeal Hosein.

India's batting line-up shines again

Shreyas Iyer, who will miss out on the flight to Dubai for the Asia Cup, went rampant against a mediocre bowling attack to prove to the selection panel that the KKR skipper shall knock on that door again. On a pitch used for a second day running in the United States, there were initial stages of discomfort due to the slowness of the pitch for the men in blue as left-handed Ishan Kishan struggled to get to grips. Eventually, the Mumbai Indians opener fell to a short-of-a-length delivery from Drakes as he looked to pull the latter by going straight to Nicholas Pooran at mid-on. 

Out walked the hungry Deepak Hooda, who seems to have grabbed his opportunity, played some fabulous shots along with Iyer as the pair made the slow pitch look easy with a solid 76 runs partnership from 7.2 overs. Iyer, known for his phenomenal technical ability, took Odean Smith to the cleaners with consecutive sixers. 

Hooda, too, joined the act with some exquisite shots by making it three sixes in a row for the team as he skipped down the track and belted Walsh over extra cover as the ball sailed into the stands. Iyer brought up a fine half-century to his name as he took advantage of Rovman Powell, as the ball would point to the boundary, and Deepak Hooda dealt with McCoy by flicking him for a four and a towering six, which seemed a bit of a golfer-esque. 

Hooda eventually fell for a well-made 38 of 25 balls as he looked to clear Walsh for another six only to find the man at the deep-mid wicket as the score read 114-2 from 11.4 overs with the projected score comfortably heading towards the 200-run mark.

West Indies managed to pull things back in the second half of the Indian innings, as Iyer tried to flat-bat Jason Holder only to hit straight back at the all-rounder for a brilliant 64 of 40 deliveries with eight fours and two sixes. 

Wickets continued to tumble, and the Windies managed to put the brakes on the Indian onslaught as Odean Smith conceded only 18 runs from his last three overs. Nevertheless, India still would end up strongly with 188 for seven as a late flurry from Hardik Pandya’s 16-ball 28 was going to be a daunting task for West Indies. 

Spinners pierce through the Windies' batting line-up

Stand-in skipper Pandya spotted two right-handed batsmen as Jason Holder and Shamarh Brooks walked out to the middle and tossed the ball over to the left-arm spinner Axar Patel as the bizarre game plan was wiped out on the second delivery. Holder, known to contribute much better whilst batting down the order, tried to play a paddle sweep against Patel, who bowled wicket to wicket and hit the former’s leg stump. India was off to a great start as Axar ended with a wicket maiden. Arshdeep Singh was tight on the other end to add further pressure with the asking rate shooting up. 

Men in blue struck yet again, the left-arm spinner was at it, and in the fifth over, Shamarh Brooks got stumped by Dinesh Karthik for 13 and bowled Devon Smith for 10. Captain Nicholas Pooran’s miserable series continued as he fell for a mere 3 to fellow left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav. 

The only consolation was lone warrior Shimron Hetymer, with a fighting 56 of 35 balls which included five boundaries and four towering sixers. The Windies batsman was wary of the spinners since Avesh Khan and Hardik Pandya, two-seam bowlers, were his targets.

Stand-in skipper Pandya looked towards Ravi Bishnoi to have a go at the Windies, the right-arm leg spinner wreaked havoc as Rovman Powell and Keemo Paul were clueless to his wrong’un whilst Drakes and Smith fell prey to Kuldeep Yadav. With very little to talk about the Windies chase, the duo would go on to finish the job for Team India by knocking out the former two-time T20 Champions for 100 runs in just 15.4 overs.  

Bishnoi ended up with four wickets from 2.4 overs as the two left-arm spinners, Kuldeep Yadav, grabbed three wickets by conceding only 12 runs from his four fours, and Axar Patel with three overs for 15 runs and three wickets. 

Kuldeep Yadav adjusted as a player of the match, and Arshdeep Singh bagged the player of the series awards. 

Surya Kumar Yadav tops the charts in the batting department with 135 runs, Shimron Hetmyer and Rishab Pant would share the second spot with 115 runs as Kyle Mayers and Rohit Sharma scored110 and 108 runs, respectively.  

As for the bowlers, Obed McCoy bagged nine wickets, and Ravi Bishnoi would leapfrog to second place with eight wickets, whilst Arshdeep Singh had seven wickets to his name.

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