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As India ties, Jaiswal and Gill lead

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India defeated West Indies 178 for 8 (Hetmyer 61, Hope 45, Arshdeep 3-38, Kuldeep 2-26) by nine wickets with a total of 179 for 1 (Jaiswal 84*, Gill 77).

Shubman Gill had a memorable year and is moving towards securing his positions across formats for India. Although Yashasvi Jaiswal is still in the beginning stages of his international cricket career, he is certainly making the appropriate noises. Together, they enabled India to successfully chase down a score higher than 95, something no team had previously been able to do at Lauderhill in Florida in 15 previous T20Is.

With one game left in the five-match series, India tied West Indies at 2-2 by chasing down 179 with an opening wicket partnership of 165 by Gill and Jaiswal, the joint-highest for India in T20Is. Shimron Hetmyer had earlier guided West Indies to 178 with his 61, which was his second consecutive fifty-plus performance in T20Is in Florida.

An early peek of the future for Gill and Jaiswal

If West Indies had any chance of winning the series with one game remaining, India’s up-and-coming players had other plans. Jaiswal scored fours in both of the first two balls of the chase, cutting Obed McCoy’s length ball through third and lofting the other over mid-off. He then gave Jason Holder three fours before dropping McCoy over deep midwicket with Gill’s signature short-arm jab.

After two consecutive fours from Jaiswal off of Romario Shepherd, Gill attacked Odean Smith in the final over of the powerplay, which resulted in a score of 16. India rolled to a 66 for 0 powerplay score.

Even after the powerplay, Gill and Jaiswal did not provide any relief for the West Indies bowlers, completing just two non-boundary overs before their stand was broken. Before Jaiswal reached his first half-century in just his second game, Gill recorded his second fifty-plus score in T20 Internationals. Before Gill’s flick picked out deep midwicket with his catch, the pair’s complete dominance allowed them to tie the record for the highest opening partnership for India held by Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.

Together with Tilak Varma, Jaiswal made sure that India didn’t experience any further setbacks in sustaining the series.

A well-known tale till…

West Indies chose to bat first on a flat field in the first of back-to-back T20Is in Florida on a bright and hot morning, but they struggled to get off to the best start. Initially hitting a couple of fours off India’s opening bowler, Axar Patel, Kyle Mayers then hit a maximum off Arshdeep Singh over deep midwicket. However, Arshdeep got back at Mayers by bouncing the next ball and catching him off guard.

West Indies were pushed by Brandon King’s good batting performance during the powerplay. Before throwing a length ball from Arshdeep over deep midwicket, he glided down the track to Yuzvendra Chahal’s legspin to tonk him down the ground for a maximum. But after a boundary ball, Arshdeep struck again, forcing King to be caught at short third.

After an aggressive opening six overs in which they scored 55 for 2, it appeared West Indies would once again flatter to please until Kuldeep Yadav picked up two wickets in his first over, including having Nicholas Pooran miss one to long-on off his first delivery of the game.

Johnson Charles’ returns of 3, 2, and 12 in the first three games prompted the addition of Shai Hope for his first T20I match since March 2022. He attacked Chahal and Axar with his feet. However, when Hetmyer joined Hope, West Indies had dropped three wickets for just three runs, going from 54 for 1 to 57 for 4.

Hope broke the chains in the tenth over by hitting Chahal for four and six after a few uneventful overs. When Hardik Pandya entered the attack, Hetmyer welcomed him with a six and a four before launching a barrage of boundaries, first flicking Kuldeep over midwicket. For the fifth wicket, they added 49 runs in only 36 balls before Hope holed out to long-on.

Hetmyer then switched gears and sent Kuldeep flying over extra cover before scooping Mukesh Kumar over short fine leg for a six. Before becoming his third victim, he walloped Arshdeep into the deep midwicket stands, thanks to a brilliant effort from Tilak Varma, who sprinted in from long-on and dove forward to pouch the catch.

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