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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Brandon King’s unbeaten 85 pilots WI to a series win against India

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Florida: Brandon King’s magnificent 85 not out steered West Indies to a 3-2 series win in the 5-match rubber at Lauderhill’s Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground here on Sunday.

The hosts beat India by 8 wickets by chasing a 166 runs target after ending at 171/2 with 2 overs to spare in the fifth T20I.

After getting a royal whack on Saturday, Windies returned the favour and won an exciting 3-2 series. King and Nicholos Pooran (47) took the sting out of Indian bowlers, thanks to intermittent rains that helped the wicket tilt in batsmen’s favour on an otherwise sluggish pitch.

Shai Hope (22*) then came in and provided the finishing touches, but King stayed till the end for his outstanding knock. He belted Yuzvendra Chahal for 4 sixes and neutralised Kuldeep Yadav by sensible batting, keeping India under the pump after having scored only 165.

Nevertheless, only Kuldeep looked like getting wickets.

Apart from the rain factor, Pooran’s promotion to No.3 altered Hardik Pandya’s plans which did not work as the left-hander kicked off to a flier. He made India realise they were 8 runs short throughout the game.

Earlier, on the back of a classy Suryakumar Yadav’s knock India huffed and puffed to 165.

Overall, India experimented in this bilateral series but that should not be an excuse for Dravid’s team as they surely were a better team, coming from the back 0-2 down to level the series in the 4th T20I.

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tilak Varma impressed at the big stage and Kuldeep was not far behind with the ball. But it was West Indies’ day to celebrate after suffering an ignominious exit from the 2023 ODI World Cup.

But hold your breath. They could be a destructive side in the next T20I WC which is scheduled in the Island nations and have Darren Sammy at the helm of affairs. Good signs for Windies in future.

Earlier, Suryakumar’s 61 off 45 balls helped India post 165/9. But for Axar Patel’s small cameo, India got through to a fighting total after they slipped at the death, losing 5 wickets after adding a paltry 31 runs.

Suryakumar and Varma (27 off 18) got India back into the game after Akeal Hosein sent back openers Jaiswal (5) and Shubman Gill (9) cheaply in contrast to yesterday’s innings where they cracked match-winning fifties.

While the Windies kept chipping away with regular wickets, India were on the course with Suryakumar batting flawlessly at the one end. Once Pandya walked in, India built the innings by batting cautiously.

Suryakumar notched up his fifty before heavens opened up for a brief period.

This was Suryakumar 18th fifty in the shortest format, which saw him equalling Virat Kohli’s record for the most 50-plus scores for India after 50 innings in T20Is.

Hardik was packed off soon after which opened the floodgates for the Windies to haul 5 wickets in 4 overs.

India failed to accelerate in the back-end and probably ended up 10-15 runs short. Romario Shepherd was the pick of the bowlers for West Indies as he picked up 4 for 31 from his 4 overs.

Nevertheless, chasing 166 will be a difficult task on a sluggish wicket with two wrist spinners Chahal and Kuldeep, and one left arm orthodox Axar in the helm of affairs for India.

Brief scores: India 165/9 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 61; Romario Shepherd 4-31, Akeal Hosain 2-24) lost to West Indies 171/2 in 18 overs (Brandon King 85*, Nicholas Pooran 47) by eight wickets

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