Hyderabad: The target is 208. Required run rate is over 10. At the half-way stage, India were 89/1 needing almost 12 an over. Captain Virat Kohli was batting at a strike rate of 100 with 20 from 20. The stage was perfectly set for King Kohli. He delivered it in style. The Indian captain once again showed that he was master of chases. He smashed an unbeaten 94 runs in 50 balls (6×4, 6×6) to guide India to a stunning six-wicket victory in 18.4 over against West Indies in the first T20 match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here on Friday. India took 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
It was a `paisa vasool’ match for the 30,000-odd crowd who thronged the stadium. On a flat batting wicket, Windies rode on Shimron Hetmyer’s maiden T20 half-century (56 from 41, 2×4, 4×6) and Evin Lewis’ 40-run blitzkrieg, to post a mammoth 207/5. However, Kohli’s master-class saw India continue their domination over Windies in the shortest format as Men In Blue recorded their straight seventh win in the last 13 months.
In a pursuit of a daunting total, Rahul smashed Jason Holder for three boundaries in the second over. In contrast, Rohit Sharma looked uncomfortable. He fell cheaply to spinner Khary Pierre in the fourth over. Rahul hit Pierre and Cottrell for sixes to keep the run rate going as hosts reached 50 in first six overs. Both Kohli and Rahul rotated the strike and found boundaries occasionally. Rahul reached his 50 and added 100 runs in 62 balls for the second wicket. But he soon fell when failed to clear Pollard at the long-off boundary of Pierre in the 14th over.
Once Rahul departed, Kohli, who was quite for some time, took charge and batted with gay abandon. He, along with Rishabh Pant, hit Holder for 15 runs and then William for 21 runs to bring down the target to 54 from last five overs. Cottrell got rid of Pant (18 from 9, 2×6) in the 18th over to break the 48-run partnership. Though Shreyas Iyer too departed cheaply, Kohli smacked William for two sixes to finish the match in style.
Earlier, despite losing Lendl Simmons (2) cheaply, Evin Lewis provided a solid start. Deepak Chahar, who picked up three wickets on his previous three deliveries – against Bangladesh in Nagpur – was among wickets with his second ball dismissing Simmons forcing an edge to Rohit Sharma at the first slip.
Lewis and Brandon King took the visitors to 50 runs in 4.5 overs. Washington Sundar, after being hit for a six, pitched one in the line that caught Lewis (40 from 17; 3×4, 4×6) plumb in front of the wickets. Then came Shimron Hetmyer who went berserk. He launched into Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal for sixes to take his team past 100 in the 10th over.
Though Jadeja broke the partnership by dismissing King (31 in 23, 3×4, 1×6), with captain Kieron Pollard in his company, Hetmyer broke free with big hits. Hetmyer had a lucky escape when he was on 44 after Sundar messed up an easy chance. The southpaw then hit Chahal over the long-off boundary to reach his half-century in 35 balls. The Windies batsmen lived a charmed life. In Chahar’s 17th over, Sundar dropped Hetmyer at the long-on while Rohit Sharma spilled a difficult chance of Pollard at the long-on on the next ball.
Soon after, Rohit against failed to latch on to a straight-forward catch of Pollard that went over the ropes. Rohit finally held on to one at the deep mid-wicket to end Hetmyer’s innings in 18th over of Chahal. A ball later, the Chahal cleaned up Pollard too. Jason Holder used his long handle to good effect smashing an unbeaten 24 off nine deliveries to take his team post the 200-run mark.
Third umpire no-balls
The ICC’s new rule of third umpire calling front foot no-ball came into existence from the first T20 between India and West Indies. Kesrick Williams became the first bowler whose front foot no-ball was called by third umpire Anil Chaudhary. Williams overstepped in the 13th over while Jason Holder overstepped in the 15th over. Williams was at it again in the 16th over’s last ball which was called no-ball by the third umpire. However, Indian batsmen failed to capitalise as none of these three no-balls were hit to boundary.