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Suryakumar and Tilak run the chase in a brisk manner to keep India in the series


West Indies 159 for 5 (King 42, Powell 40*, Kuldeep 3-28) were defeated by India 164 for 3 (Suryakumar 83, Tilak 49*, Joseph 2-25) by seven wickets.

Despite the fact that India is still trailing the West Indies 2-1 in the five-match T20I series, Suryakumar Yadav’s magnificent 44-ball 83, which was laced with boundary strokes all over the park, kept India in the game. The two openers for India fell early in the chase of 160, which was also the biggest target of the series thus far, but Suryakumar, the top T20I hitter in the world, counterattacked with ten fours and four sixes.

The West Indies bowlers struggled to respond to his knock, which gave Tilak Varma the opportunity to quietly settle in and play a pivotal supporting role. After Suryakumar was dismissed, Tilak flourished and finished with an undefeated 49, his third consecutive promising innings and the first one to result in a win.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, West Indies amassed a score of 159 for 5, which on the sluggish surface seemed respectable. However, their bowlers had a harder time than the Indians’ in the second innings as a persistent drizzle entered the picture. The series now continues to the USA with India potentially holding the initiative because they were unable to match what India’s spinners, led by Kuldeep Yadav’s three-for, did.

The Providence surface was cited as a reason why West Indies skipper Rovman Powell elected to bat at the toss. India too thought the surface was slow and began applying spin in nine consecutive overs in the third over. In the powerplay, openers Kyle Mayers (25) and Brandon King (42) occasionally hit boundaries, but Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal ensured West Indies could only muster 38 runs in the first six overs.

After Mayers’ ill-timed slog sweep broke the 55-run opening stand, Axar made the first breakthrough. Johnson Charles’ lethargic performance then allowed Chahal and Kuldeep to get going. When Kuldeep successfully reviewed a lbw call to dismiss Charles with a googly, he earned a point for himself.

India resumed its pace after Nicholas Pooran replaced him at position number four, with Hardik bowling his second over. But Pooran showed symptoms of a recurrence from the second T20I, where he had smashed a 40-ball 67, by pounced on Kuldeep’s left-arm wristspin from the other end.

Kuldeep was aware of Pooran’s penchant for big shots, but he still came back hard in his final over. He used a legbreak to stump Pooran for 20 before holding onto a quick caught-and-bowled opportunity to dismiss King. As the final five overs neared, West Indies had two new hitters after the designated batters had left.

West Indies needed the seasoned duo of Shimron Hetmyer and Powell to perform when there were only four overs left and they were only at 113. Powell pushed the Indian quicks for boundaries after running hard between the wickets to pick up twos when possible, while Hetmyer was bowled out by Mukesh Kumar’s first delivery of the game in the 18th over.

When Arshdeep missed his yorkers and gave up slot deliveries, Powell pounded them for two more sixes in a 17-run 19th over to offer West Indies hope of scoring more than 160 runs. Full tosses from Mukesh and Arshdeep Singh were also dispatched.

West Indies managed to set India 160 runs to win thanks to a six over the leg side from Powell in the final over bowled by Mukesh, who had only allowed two runs off his first four balls of the over. Powell, however, said that West Indies fell short by a few runs because they “lost our way in the middle overs” after the game.

Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was making her debut, was bowled out by Obed McCoy in the first over of the chase while attempting to force a shot over the leg side. Shortly after, an unfocused Shubman Gill, who had top-edged Alzarri Joseph, the greatest bowler for the West Indies that day, returned for 6 in 11 balls.

Suryakumar was quick off the blocks, hitting a four and a six off his first two balls, and he continued to move forward at a rapid pace between the two dismissals. With a boundary in each of the left-arm spinner’s first two powerplay overs, Suryakumar made sure the dangerous Akeal Hosein couldn’t relax.

In just 23 balls, Suryakumar Yadav reached his half-century.
In just 23 balls, Suryakumar Yadav reached his half-century.Getty Images/AFP
Tilak stepped into bat in the fourth over after Gill’s wicket, and he immediately started in the style of Suryakumar with two boundary shots. In the penultimate powerplay over, with rain in the air, the two of them worked together to score 17 runs off McCoy, putting India comfortably ahead of the DLS par mark.

But after the powerplay, it was Suryakumar’s turn to shine, proving that a dispersed outfield didn’t matter to India’s vice-captain. Before back-to-back fours off, Roston Chase’s full toss was flicked to wide long-on. In just 23 deliveries, Romario Shepherd helped Suryakumar reach his half-century.

The West Indies bowlers had a harder time carrying out their strategies as the rain increased, but it wasn’t strong enough to halt play. Suryakumar capitalised on even the smallest length or line errors to punish them. West Indies were further deflated by Shepherd’s scoop over fine leg and sliced shot behind point in the tenth over, and by the midway point of the chase, India had completely taken control with a score of 97 for 2.

After hitting Joseph for his fourth six of the innings, Suryakumar eventually fell on 83 as he attempted to flick a loose ball to fine leg, but by that point, the needed run rate was much below six. Tilak assumed control of the pursuit in Hardik Pandya’s company with a deft pull off Hosein and a heave over square leg for six off Shepherd.

When racing between the wickets, Tilak and Hardik both had excellent communication, and in the 18th over, with India still needing two runs to win, Tilak reached 49. However, when Pandya hammered Powell for six over long-off to seal India’s victory with 13 balls to go, he would be left stranded one short of his second T20I fifty.

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