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India's spinners strangle West Indies before 2nd T20I becomes victim to 'technical issues'

1.13K   //    29 Aug 2016, 08:41 IST
MS Dhoni stumps Lendl Simmons out, who has been fooled by a wide delivery down the leg side from Ravichandran Ashwin – a classic gully cricket dismissal

Inclement weather and a wet outfield were the villains in the 2nd T20I between India and West Indies getting washed out on Sunday, but it had been an issue with the broadcasters’ satellite that had seen a loss of 40 minutes in the beginning of the match. Had that time not been lost, we would have had at least 10 overs in the Indian innings, enough for a result.

According to revised calculations, India would have required 40 in 5 overs as a minimum for a result. However, even 4 hours after the burst of rain, there were puddles in the outfield, and repeated examinations to check the footing had negative reports. A major concern seemed to be about a painted advertisement behind the bowler’s run-up.

It is not expected that the 15,000 capacity Fort Lauderdale Stadium has access to facilities of the super sopper, the presence of a painted advertisement causing issues can also be accepted, but what is most unfortunate in this circumstance is something as vague as satellite problems being the reason for not having a complete match.

‘Technical issues’ was all the explanation that the scoreboard offered at the stadium, as the match got delayed at the beginning. Storms had been predicted over the last two days, and to see playing time being wasted in this fashion was disappointing.

After the 489-run fest on Saturday, another similar match was on the cards, the pitch used also being the same. Two major changes were visible from the very outset – the wicket had slowed down considerably from the first day, the ball was not coming on to the bat as easily. Also, as seen from the first change of bowling in the 6th over, Amit Mishra had a lot more to offer than Stuart Binny.

Mishra’s striking career stats and Ashwin’s sweet revenge over Simmons

India made one change going into the 2nd match, Mishra in for Binny, who had gone for 32 runs in his only over in the USA. Mishra grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He got the danger man Johnson Charles out with his very first ball. This was the turning point of the match, as the middle order of the West Indies never managed to settle down after this.

The 33-year-old Mishra’s career averages provide a striking picture – under MS Dhoni, his wickets have come at an average of 46 and 48 in the two longer formats. Under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, this has dropped to 21 and 12. Despite being possibly the best leg spinner in the country for the last decade, consistently featuring among the top wicket-takers in the IPL, he had got only 7 T20I matches for India before Sunday.

His 3/24 under Dhoni was his best T20I figure yet, but the fact remains that he seems to be much more comfortable when Kohli is in charge. Mishra came back to the attack to claim the big wickets of Dwayne Bravo, with a deceptive googly, and Carlos Brathwaite, with a subtle change of trajectory.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja followed Mishra with good effect, tightening the stranglehold on West Indies. Jadeja bowled 2 overs for 11 runs while Ashwin took 2 wickets in his 3 overs for 11 runs. Ashwin’s wicket of Lendl Simmons was something that sent the stadium into raptures. He bowled a wide down leg side, deceiving the charging batsman, who then lay in a confused heap as Dhoni stumped him out.

Ashwin gave Simmons a small wave as he made his way back to the pavilion. This was a wicket made sweeter because of history. Simmons had been India’s nemesis in the World T20 semi-final earlier this year, surviving three reprieves on way to a matchwinning 82*. By the time of the USA series, however, Simmons seems to have run out of lives.