India vs West Indies T20I series: Positives and downsides for Team India
Team India completed a clean sweep of the three-match T20I series against the West Indies. In the third T20I at Chennai, India managed to beat West Indies by six wickets, off the very last ball of the match.
In this article, let us analyse the positives and downsides for Team India in the recently concluded series.
#1 Encouraging form of the openers
Both Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan showed encouraging form with the bat in the entire series. Though both Rohit and Dhawan failed in the first match at the Eden Gardens, they got going at Lucknow with a first wicket partnership of 123 runs.
Dhawan, after a prolonged lean patch, came back to form at Lucknow and scored 43. Rohit scored his record 4th T20I hundred at a strike rate of 182 which took the game and the series out of the Windies' reach.
After an early departure of Rohit at Chennai, Dhawan took upon himself to finish the match for India with a match-winning 92 off 62 balls lashed with 10 fours and 2 sixes.
Dhawan finished the series with 138 runs at an average of 46. His opening partner Rohit Sharma ended up with 119 runs at an average of 60.
Rohit once again displayed his competent leadership acumen in the entire series.
#2 The emergence of Khaleel Ahmed and Krunal Pandya
Both Khaleel Ahmed and Krunal Pandya made their respective debut in the series. Both had a decent outing.
In his debut match at Kolkata, Khaleel impressed everyone with his bowling figures of 4-1-16-1. In the second match at Lucknow, he removed both the West Indies openers Shai Hope and the dangerous Hetmyer cheaply and finished with figures of 4-0-30-2.
Khaleel was equally impressive to both the right-handers and the left-handers. With his clever change of pace, he never allowed the batsmen to get on top of him.
In his debut match at Eden Gardens, Krunal Pandya gave away 10 runs in his first over. Pollard hit him over his head for a six. However, Pandya had his revenge when he removed his Mumbai Indian teammate in his next over. After a poor first over, the left arm spin bowler came back well conceding just 5 runs in his next 3 overs.
Again, chasing a modest target of 110 for a win, India were in a spot of bother at 83 for 5 needing 27 more to win. Pandya came in and played a cameo of 21 off 9 balls with 3 fours to finish off the match for India in the 18th over.
In the second match at Lucknow, Krunal bowled a tight spell in the middle-overs conceding 23 runs in his 4 overs.
The emergence of young guns in Khaleel Ahmed and Krunal Pandya augurs well for the future.
#3 The promise showed by Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant
Kuldeep Yadav deservingly got the man-of-the-series award. In the first T20I, Kuldeep ran through the West Indies middle-order claiming the wickets of Darren Bravo, Rovman Powell and skipper Carlos Brathwaite. None of the Windies batsmen were able to pick the variations of Kuldeep as he finished with figures of 4-0-13-3.
In the second T20 match, at the end of his third over, Kuldeep had figures of 2 for 13 before being taken for 19 runs in his last over. But, by that time, he had done the damage.
Kuldeep remained a mystery to all the West Indies batsmen right through the series.
Rishabh Pant failed in the first two matches of the series. More than his failure, it was his manner of dismissals that was disappointing. In both the matches, Pant got out going for the big hit too early in his innings before getting used to the wicket.
In the third match, India were chasing a difficult target of 182 for a win. Rohit Sharma and KL before departed before the end of powerplay overs. Pant was sent in at number 4 to accompany Dhawan.
This time around, Pant curbed his natural instincts to go for his shots at the beginning of his innings. Pant had scored 5 off 7 balls when Brathwaite came on to bowl his second over. The southpaw hit him for two fours in that over: a flat-batted heave over the bowler's head followed by a hook to fine leg.
Pant followed that up with three sixes, one each off Thomas, Pollard and Allen respectively. He reached his 50 off just 30 balls and was involved in a partnership of 130 runs for the third wicket with Dhawan.
Pant brought India close on to the doorsteps of victory before he got out to yet another disappointing stroke. But the form displayed by him in the third T20 match was a refreshing positive for Team India in the series.