Thiruvananthapuram: An unbeaten half-century from Lendl Simmons guided West Indies to a series-levelling win against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, 9 December.
The West Indies opener struck an unbeaten 67 to anchor his side’s chase of 171, and with each of the rest of the top four making at least 20, the tourists eased home.
Simmons first added 73 in 9.5 overs with his opening partner Evin Lewis to set the platform for the visitors. The latter struggled to rotate the strike, finishing with 40 from 35 balls despite striking three fours and three sixes, but he still did his job well before getting stumped by Rishabh Pant off Washington Sundar.
After the solid start, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran put on the afterburners. The former struck three sixes in 14 balls before falling for 23, while the latter ended the game in a hurry, racing to 38 off 18 to seal victory with eight wickets and nine balls to spare.
The surface had initially looked a sluggish one, with each of India’s openers failing to score at over a run a ball. The conditions prompted the promotion of Shivam Dube to No.3, in the hope that his long levers could help get a few away and change the momentum.
The plan worked perfectly as the 26-year-old smashed his maiden international half-century, eventually falling for 54 from 30 balls. However, while Pant contributed a 22-ball 33 to give the hosts some late impetus, none of the rest could find proper fluency.
Hayden Walsh and Kesrick Williams helped restrict their opponents through the middle overs, claiming the third, fourth, fifth and sixth wickets to fall between them. It was Williams who accounted for the all-important wicket of Virat Kohli, who had played a starring role in India’s opening victory in Hyderabad.
After Kohli had aped Williams’ signature celebration in the first game, the West Indian replied with a simple finger on his lips, having silenced not just India’s captain but an entire stadium when Kohli lobbed a cut to short third man. And it was West Indies who would have the last laugh on the night, claiming a resounding victory to send the series to a decider at Mumbai.