West Indies ended their 7-match T2OI losing streak against India on Sunday as they defeated the hosts by 8 wickets to take the 3-match series into a decider. Put in to bat first, India set up a 171 for the West Indies on a sluggish pitch and the visitors hunted the total down with 1.3 overs to spare, courtesy an all-round batting effort from the side and another show of sloppy fielding from their opponents.
India players were loose in the field in the T20I series opener in Hyderabad but there was no improved effort from the hosts in the 2nd game. In the 5th over of the Windies’ innings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was robbed of 2 wickets in the same over. First, Washington Sundar dropped a sitter to give opener Lendl Simmons a reprieve and then Rishabh Pant could not hold on to the ball to given Evin Lewis a lifeline as well.
The fielding errors came back to haunt them later as Simmons remained unbeaten on 67 while Lewis went on to score 40 to make light of 171 run chase.
India skipper Virat Kohli, who took a screamer to put an end to Shimron Hetmyer onslaught, was disappointed by his side’s poor fielding as he held that responsible for their defeat and not batting first.
Statistics say, in their last 16 matches since January 2018, India have lost 8 matches while batting first while have won 14 of their last 18 games while chasing. However, Kohli said just numbers alone do not depict the actual story.
“Numbers say a lot of things. They can say a lot of things that aren’t there as well. I think we were good for 16 overs while batting. But then last four overs we got only thirty. We need to focus on that. Shivam’s knock helped us reach 170,” Virat Kohli said in a post-match presentation ceremony.
“To be honest, WI bowled cutters and their change of pace did not help us. But if we field so poorly, no amount of runs will be enough. We were poor with the field in the last two games. We dropped two catches in one over. Imagine if they lost two overs in the same over. Everyone saw we need to be more brave in fielding.”
Talking about promoting all-arounder Shivam Dube to the No. 3 batting position, where Kohli himself bats in usual cases, the skipper said, “We knew the pitch is going to help spinners, so we thought why not Shivam go up and attack the spinner. That was the plan, worked very well.”
Dube’s promotion up the order did wonders for India as the 26-year-old scored his maiden T20I fifty and hit 30-ball 54 that was the highlight of India’s innings.