Nicholas Pooran (62, 41b, 4x5, 6x3) and Rovman Powell (68*, 36b, 4x4, 6x5) tried their best to save the game with a 100-run partnership off 60 balls for the third wicket. But the 187-run target seemed too steep for the West Indies in the second T20I at the Eden Gardens on Friday.
Kieron Pollard's men fell short by eight runs as India sealed the series 2-0, making Sunday's fixture a dead rubber. They finished at 178 for the loss of three wickets.
Surprisingly, India won its 100th T20I game on Pollard's 100th outing.
Brandon King (22, 30b, 4x2) failed to fire at the top of the order, which made scoring difficult in the middle overs. He fell to leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi in the ninth over, who once again stood out with figures of 1/30 in his four. Yuzvendra Chahal caught Kyle Mayers (9, 10b, 4x1) off his own bowling before Powell and Pooran took charge.
The duo took on the bowlers and found boundaries at will. There were dropped catches but the cushion of a big total perhaps saved the host. Bishnoi dropped Pooran on 21 off Chahal, while a miscommunication between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rishabh Pant saw the fast bowler drop Powell on 39.
Bishnoi finally caught Pooran off Bhuvneshwar in the 19th over to tilt the game India's way. Powell remained a tragic hero and Pollard did not have enough deliveries to face.
Earlier, West Indies took the right call by electing to field since the bowlers had a torrid time tackling the dew in the previous encounter. Even the wicket had played better in the second half.
But the blockbuster Friday was reserved for Virat Kohli (52, 41b, 4x7, 6x1) and Rishabh Pant (52*, 28b, 4x7, 6x1). The former captain smashed his 30th T20I fifty, his second at Eden, to up the tempo. Later, the wicketkeeper-batsman capitalised on the momentum to lift India to 186 for the loss of five wickets.
West Indies started the proceedings with left-arm spin bowler Akeal Hosein who bowled two no-balls and conceded a boundary on byes in the first over itself. The Indian batters could not clear the rope in the two free hits. Ishan Kishan's struggle was visible as his slog-sweep lacked the timing and intensity, while Rohit Sharma found the deep midwicket fielder off the low full toss at his disposal.
Kohli walked into bat in the second over once Sheldon Cottrell got the better of Kishan (2, 10b). The big-ticket player, who fetched the highest amount at Rs 15.25 crore at the IPL auction last week, couldn't connect bat to ball against the left-arm seam bowler. The West Indian kept beating him on edge by late swing for consecutive deliveries. The southpaw finally fell to the trap in the last ball of the second over. Kyle Mayers caught the leading edge at backward point.
Kohli clearly had a point to prove as he ran into the ground immediately after the fall of the wicket. He got off the mark with a wristy flick off the pads that raced to the boundary. The right-hander picked his second boundary by paddling it down on one knee.
Rohit had a nervy start. He was also dropped on 2 by King off Cottrell. The captain hit a couple of fours and a mistimed six before Roston Chase foxed him for the second time in the series. The slog-sweep caught a thick leading edge. King finally caught him at the cover region.
Kohli kept dominating the bowlers. Among all his boundaries, the one smashed over Romario Shepherd's head was perhaps the shot of the match.
Chase kept troubling the Indian batters with his accurate line. He caught Suryakumar Yadav (8, 6b, 4x1) off his own bowling, and ran through Kohli's gate after the superstar hit a six to reach his fifty.
Pant mostly dealt in fours, but the solitary one-handed six off Jason Holder reminded one of MS Dhoni's helicopter shot. Venkatesh Iyer (33, 18b, 4x1, 6x1) provided solid support from the other end.
Chase (3/25) was the best bowler for West Indies. Overall, the Caribbeans have a task cut out should they look to avoid a whitewash.
Brief scores: India 186/5 (V Kohli 52, R Pant 52*; R Chase 3/25) beat West Indies 178/3 (N Pooran 62, R Powell 68*; R Bishnoi 1/30) by eight runs.
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