The out-of-form West Indies tasted a 17-run defeat to India in the third and final T20I match of the series today (20 February), leaving serious question marks hovering around the future of captain Keiron Pollard.
India, put in to bat, smashed 184-5 with Suryakumar Yadav the star at the crease with a knock of 65 from 31 balls. In response the Windies regularly lost wickets in their chase for runs with Nicholas Pooran shining with the bat by bagging his third half-century of the series to score 61. The Trinidad wicketkeeper held the innings together, but once he was back in the pavilion at 135-6 in the 18th over it was game over.
Trinidadian Pollard will be bitterly disappointed that his West Indian troops have failed to register a single match success on their tour to India, following a dismal 3-0 ODI series record with a trio of T20I defeats. This back-to-back clean sweep will mean that CWI (Cricket West Indies) will be scratching their heads about Pollard, despite the 34-year-old having guided the Windies to last month’s exciting 3-2 T20I series win over England in Barbados.
Pollard said: “We were in the game for 15 overs, but we gave them 85-odd in the last five. We did have a good start with the bat, were 70-odd in eight overs and were not able to capitalise.
“Nicholas [Pooran] showed his consistency. Rovman Powell showed he wants to be part and parcel of the white ball teams. Coming to India was going to be difficult, but the way the boys responded was good on our part.
“From the ODI perspective, we had a chance to win that series, bowling them out for 230-odd in the second game and last game, so it is not all doom and gloom.
“These guys are finding their foot, it is like on the job training for them and we look forward to see what the future holds. From the T20I perspective, we went with experience for the 2021 World Cup and did not get the job done, but now we are working with what we got.”
India, under the guidance of recently-appointed skipper Rohit Sharma, went into the third and final T20I having already captured the series courtesy of two hard-fought victories as the hosts were far from spectacular with their fielding.
While the fingers pointed at Pollard, it was Sharma who took the glory. He has achieved a hat-trick of a whitewash series as skipper, having seen off New Zealand 3-0 at T20I and now the West Indies at ODI and T20I. This ltest triumph equalled India’s record of nine wins on the bounce.
Pooran’s rapid 61 helped the West Indies to 157-7 in the opening T20I last Wednesday. India were in trouble at 95-3 despite Rohit Sharma scoring 40. But Yadav (34no) and Venkatesh Iyer (24no) rescued the hosts, who won by six wickets with seven balls to spare.
It was a close-run scenario in the next T20I on Friday, with the Windies narrowly beaten by just eight runs.
Virat Kohli (51) and Rishabh Pant (52no) guided India to 186-5. In reply the Windies were gliding along, with a 100-run partnership between Pooran (62) and Jamaican all-rounder Powell who were both fortunate to be at the crease following dropped catches.
With 25 runs required off the final over, Powell smashed two sixes. But medium-fast bowler Harshal Patel held his nerve as the tourists stuttered short of the target to finish on 178-3.
This was the third successive bilateral series defeats away from home for the West Indies, having tasted a 2-0 defeat to New Zealand in 2020-21 and a 3-0 reversal to Pakistan 2021-22.
Prior to the T20I defeats, Pollard and Pooran both failed as skipper when the West Indies lost the ODI series to India behind closed doors at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
It was the poor performances with the bat that proved so costly for the tourists, with the Windies having been bowled out in 11 of their past 15 ODIs since the start of 2021.
Following the disappointment of the ODI series, at least things were closer in the trio of T20Is behind closed doors in a secure bubble at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Whether Pollard will be removed from his role as captaincy and replaced by Pooran remains to be seen, but CWI will be leaving Barbados’ Kraigg Brathwaite to take charge of next month’s Test matches against England.
The Windies, who only lost their way against England’s spinners in the home T20I series, will have had their confidence bruised and battered from this whistlestop tour to India. Yet they have plenty to time to dust themselves down to recover in time for England’s visit for encounters at Antigua, Barbados and Grenada respectively.
6 February | 1st ODI (Ahmedabad, India)
India 178-4 (28 overs) beat WI 176 all out (43.5 overs) by 6 wickets
9 February | 2nd ODI (Ahmedabad, India)
India 237-9 (50 overs) beat WI 193 all out (46 overs) by 44 runs
11 February | 3rd ODI (Ahmedabad, India)
India 265 all (50 overs) beat WI 169 all out (37.1 overs) by 96 runs
16 February | 1st T20I (Kolkata, India)
India 162-4 (18.5 overs) beat WI 157-7 (20 overs) by 6 wickets
18 February | 2nd T20I (Kolkata, India)
India 186-5 (20 overs) beat WI 178-3 (20 overs) by 8 runs
20 February | 3rd T20I v India (Kolkata, India)
India 184-5 (20 overs) beat WI 167-9 (20 overs) by 17 runs
1-4 March | Warm-up friendly v England Select XI (Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua)
8-12 March | 1st Test WI v England (Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua)
16-20 March | 2nd Test WI v England (Kensington Oval, Barbados)
24-28 March | 3rd Test WI v England (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)
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