India v West Indies, 3rd T20I
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Wednesday, 11 December; 07:00pm IST, 01:30pm GMT
At long last, West Indies have another T20I win. It’s their second in 11 games this year, but this series has seen a marked improvement in their performances. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul were too good for them in the first game, but they pushed India hard nevertheless.
Lendl Simmons’ love affair with India continued – he averages 41.66 against them, as opposed to 24.57 overall – as he slammed an unbeaten 67, but it’s the performances of their younger lot – Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis and Brandon King – that would please West Indies more.
India has let themselves down on the field this series. They dropped five catches in the series opener, but got away with it, thanks to another scarcely believable performance from Virat Kohli. But they didn’t get lucky the second time, as they paid the price for dropping both Simmons and Lewis in the early parts of their innings.
Their bowling hasn’t been up to the mark either. Yuzvendra Chahal still hasn’t rediscovered the highs of 2018, when he formed a lethal combination with Kuldeep Yadav. Deepak Chahar has gone for 91 runs in 7.3 overs so far. Would India be tempted to replace him with Mohammed Shami? Even the usually accurate Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been off the mark. Against a team full of power-hitters, there is no more room for such lapses, as the two teams scrap it out for the series in Mumbai.
Shivam Dube announced himself on the international stage with a 30-ball 54, before Rishabh Pant laid the finishing touches to lift India to 170/7 on a slow pitch. They had their chances to put West Indies under early pressure but fluffed their lines. West Indies cantered to victory, by eight wickets in the 19th over, with each of their top four making contributions. Simmons led the way with his 67* off 45 balls.
What they said: Virat Kohli, India captain: "We had to get those 15 extra runs to defend, but look, if you field like that, then no total is big enough. Last two games we have been below par in the field. We were good with the ball, in the first four overs we created enough pressure, and then you drop two chances in a T20 game in one over, that's going to cost you.”
Kieron Pollard, West Indies captain: “What we can control is what's in front of us. To be able to restrict India to 170 after my expensive over, it was fantastic. The way we batted, we had discussed how to approach the game, and the boys played it well.”
Conditions: A clear evening is expected in Mumbai. The Wankhede Stadium hasn’t hosted a T20I in two years. But, despite its small dimensions, in its last game, Sri Lanka were limited to 135/7, before India were pushed to the last over before successfully chasing it down, with five wickets to spare.