Tilak Varma struck his first international half-century, but it was not enough to prevent India from slipping to a dramatic two-wicket defeat in the second T20I against West Indies in Guyana on Sunday.
India struggled to 152 for seven after winning the toss and batting first and, despite Nicholas Pooran’s 67, appeared to be heading for victory when West Indies lost four wickets for three runs to slip to 129 for eight.
However, tailenders Alzarri Joseph and Akeal Hosein kept their cool and slogged the winning runs to see West Indies home with seven balls to spare.
AS IT HAPPENED | INDIA VS WEST INDIES SECOND T20I
After winning Thursday’s opener in Tarouba by four runs, West Indies takes a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
The 20-year-old Varma, who helped light up the IPL (Indian Premier League) with 343 runs for Mumbai Indians this season, made 51 from 41 balls before clipping left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein to fine-leg, where Obed McCoy pouched the catch.
Varma came to the crease in the fourth over after Shubman Gill was caught at third man off Joseph, and Suryakumar Yadav, playing his 50th T20I, was run out by a direct hit from Kyle Mayers to leave India on 18 for two.
Varma added 42 for the third wicket with Ishan Kishan, before the opener was bowled by Romario Shepherd for 27.
Sanju Samson fell cheaply, and after the dismissal of Varma, who hit five fours and one six in his 51, it was left to skipper Hardik Pandya with 24 from 18 balls to drag the Indians towards a half-decent target.
West Indies made the worst possible start as Pandya removed Brandon King and Johnson Charles in the first four balls of its reply.
SCORECARD | INDIA VS WEST INDIES SECOND T20I
Pooran, however, quickly found his range, clubbing six fours and four sixes in his 40-ball 67.
Mayers (15) and skipper Rovman Powell (21) offered some support and West Indies appeared to be in control until Pooran hammered Mukesh Kumar to Samson in the covers.
From 126 for four, West Indies lost four wickets for just three runs, three of them in the 16th over delivered by Yuzvendra Chahal.
The third of those saw Shimron Hetmyer’s eighth man out, leg-before on review for 22. That left them needing 24 from the last four overs with just two wickets remaining.
Joseph and Hosein, however, edged them to victory.
The tourist won the preceding two-match Test series 1-0 before beating West Indies 2-1 in the ODIs.
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