After a 200-plus run-chase at Hyderabad, Lendl Simmons and Nicholas Pooran played a massive hand as West Indies blanked India by eight wickets at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. In a series-levelling win, West Indies did well to restrict India in the first innings and then used the dew on offer to play good cricketing shots.
Here are five talking points from the game.
The surprise promotion
India chose to spring a surprise after KL Rahul was dismissed early at the Sports Hub. Instead of the in-form Virat Kohli, Shivam Dube, a pinch hitter, was promoted up the order, perhaps also bearing in mind that the left-arm spinner, Khary Pierre, was turning the ball into left-handers.
Dube did not just grab the chance, but put on a show as he hit Kieron Pollard for three sixes in an over to complete a maiden half-century in the format in international cricket. On a sluggish wicket, Dube's power-packed show gave India a good total.
Williams - Kohli at it again
We loved the notebook celebration by the Indian skipper at Hyderabad as he mocked Kesrick Williams after thumping him for a six. The battle had begun back in 2017 when Williams brought out his customary celebration against Kohli after dismissing him in a T20I.
However, Indian fans had less to cheer about at Thiruvananthapuram as Williams bowled a well-disguised slower bumper to dismiss the Indian skipper. Instead of his trademark notebook celebration, Williams chose to put the finger on his lips, gesturing cheekily to Kohli to keep silent.
Rishabh Pant's flourish
Often mocked in recent times for letting go of opportunities to showcase his talent, Pant played a crucial hand from the lower middle-order as India set up a decent total on board. The wicket-keeper batsman walked in at No. 5 and hit a six off his second delivery to kick-start his innings. In fact, even at Hyderabad, he had begun his innings with a six.
Pant, though, went on to make better decisions in terms of shot selection here and slammed 33 in 22 balls, a strike rate of 150 in the death overs. His day, however, could have been better if only he had not let go of a catch to give Evin Lewis a lifeline off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s delivery.
Catching issues? No, says Kohli
India' s tryst with dropped chances continued at Sports Hub as Washington Sundar and Rishabh Pant put down chances in the same over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. While India's catching in recent T20Is has been shoddy at best, one man who seems to have no problem is Virat Kohli.
The skipper pulled off a screamer to dismiss Shimron Hetmyer at long-on. Covering good ground to reach the ball near the ropes, Kohli held onto the ball while sliding pretty close to the ropes, never letting go of the ball in the process. Shreyas Iyer, later put down a similar catch in the game.
Stunning Catch By Indian Captain Virat Kohli 💥💥🔥🔥😎#INDvsWI #ViratKohli #RohitSharma #shivamdubey @imVkohli @AnushkaSharma @SGanguly99 @bhogleharsha @sachin_rt @YUVSTRONG12 @LoyalSachinst @RCBTweets pic.twitter.com/Vgfy3HFVfl— జై ♥️ (@JaipalReddyP521) December 8, 2019
Lendl Simmons rewinding the clock
There was a time when Simmons was a much-watched out batsman in the Indian T20 League when playing for the Mumbai-based franchise. More than belligerent hitting, Simmons had the touch game and the power game and quickly became a crowd favourite at the Wankhede.
A few years have passed by, and back in West Indies colours, Simmons shone at Sports Hub with a brilliant half-century studded with crisp shots all around the wicket. After a failure against Deepak Chahar in the last game, Simmons made good use of the dew on offer to take on the Indian bowlers with conviction.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Arun Sankar