India chased down a 200+ target for the third time in T20s as Virat Kohli played an atypical innings to eventually anchor the chase after it was set up at the top by KL Rahul. There were a few headline-worthy moments out on the field, as Kohli seemed more animated than usual, having staring matches and imitating celebrations but it all ended amicably.
Here are a few talking points from the first India vs West Indies T20 at Hyderabad:
Deepak Chahar's unlucky day
Deepak Chahar has had a sensational start to his T20I career. After snaring a hat-trick and a career-best haul in the death overs in his final T20I against Bangladesh, Chahar went on to dismiss Lendl Simmons off his second delivery in the game.
At that very point, Chahar had taken four wickets in his last five balls for India in T20Is. Since then, his day dwindled with Washington Sundar (twice) and Rohit Sharma putting down catches off his bowling. Chahar had Hetmyer miscuing to fine-leg where Sundar put down a catch. Pollard was then dropped twice as Chahar recorded figures of 4-0-56-1.
Sundar, Lewis and the sweep
Evin Lewis loves sweeping the spinners. At the first opportunity he gets to play the shot, Lewis is down on his knees to sweep. But it's a high risk shot for the West Indian as Mujeeb Ur Rahman showed in the series against West Indies last month. The off-spinner's modus operandi perhaps interested India as they used Sundar first up against Lewis.
But the off-spinner was wayward and ended up leaking boundaries against the left-hander. Bowling full and straight ought to have been the plan and when he finally managed to do so, Lewis was down to sweep and missed the ball entirely to be trapped in front.
Hetmyer and the Bangalore curse
Shimron Hetmyer was a prominent pick in Bangalore's kitty for the Indian T20 League. But the left-hander was handled in bizarre ways and came way to down the order to make an impact. Instead of righting his role in the side, Bangalore decided to let go of Hetmyer ahead of this year's auctions.
The left-hander, as though to question Virat Kohli and his side's thinking, started teeing off from the word go at Hyderabad. He hit Chahal and Jadeja, two of India's premier spinners, for two sixes apiece and completed a brilliant half-century to raise his stocks ahead of the auction.
The KL vs Dhawan debate settled?
India have long stuck to their preferred ODI opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan in T20Is but the fact remains that while these two click in the 50-over format, in T20Is you need a big hitter at the top to maximise the powerplay overs.
KL Rahul, as he showed in the Indian T20 League in 2018 and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year, is most effective when he tees off at the start of an innings. At Hyderabad, as Kohli got stuck on 3 off 8 within the first six overs, Rahul made 31 in 18 balls.
His 40-ball 62 gave India the early impetus they needed to seal the run-chase. Would Dhawan have played a similar hand? From recent experiences, that seems an unlikely proposition and it could well point at which of the two India would prefer at the World Cup next year.
Virat Kohli's self-nudge
We know Virat Kohli is a supreme player in run-chases. But at Hyderabad, in a 200-plus run chase, he seemed completely out of sorts, edging and miscuing his shots before he decided to give himself a nudge.
When Kesrick Williams elbowed him accidentally on his follow-through, Kohli was furious at him. A flicked six and more shots you generally associate with the Indian skipper followed.
Having pumped himself up, Kohli went on to produce an extraordinary knock. From 3 off 9 balls and 20 off 20 balls, the skipper went on to make 94 in 50 balls with 6 sixes to finish the game off in style.
Feature image courtesy: Noah Seelam