Lendl Simmons' fifty and aggressive knocks from Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis helped West Indies win by eight wickets. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
March 31, 2016. That was the last time West Indies had defeated India in a Twenty20 International. In that World T20 semi-final at the Wankhede, Lendl Simmons benefited from two no-balls which resulted in catches and his brilliant 82 helped West Indies enter the final. Three years later, Simmons once again benefited from a fielding lapse by Washington Sundar when he dropped him on 6 off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Simmons made India pay by hammering his sixth fifty as West Indies ended their seven-game losing streak against India in grand style by winning the second match by eight wickets at the Greenfield International stadium in Thiruvananthapuram to level the three-match series 1-1.
In the game in Hyderabad, West Indies had erred by missing their line and lengths in the death overs as Virat Kohli tore their bowling to shreds. In Thiruvananthapuram, West Indies overcame the mistake by conceding just 38 runs and taking three wickets to restrict India to a slightly under-par score on a sluggish wicket. Boosted by the momentum of a good death overs show, West Indies started confidently with Evin Lewis smashing two boundaries off Deepak Chahar. However, the fifth over turned the game. Sundar dropped Simmons on 6 and two balls later, Lewis edged a knuckle ball from the bowler to Rishabh Pant who dived to his left but failed to latch on to the catch.
Lewis made India pay with two big sixes off Sundar as West Indies ended the powerplay in style. The left-hander reached 40 with another slog sweep off Yuzvendra Chahal to long leg while Simmons gave him good company with a six and a four off the legspinner. India had some respite when Sundar had Lewis stumped for 40 but Simmons held firm. Shimron Hetmyer showed his aggressive intent with three big sixes off Jadeja but in the quest for aggression, he thumped a flatter ball to long on but Virat Kohli dived to his right and ensured his hands and legs were not in contact with the ropes to give India some hope.
However, Nicholas Pooran smashed a six and two fours while Simmons reached his fifty in grand style. Simmons and Pooran smashed a six each off Bhuvneshwar and the left-handed Pooran ended the game in style as West Indies ended the jinx in grand style.
Dube Steals The Show
West Indies chose to bowl and they had a bad start with Sheldon Cottrell struggling for line and length. The Windies tradition of conceding plenty of extras continued but they received a boost when KL Rahul top-edged a slog sweep off Kharry Pierre to be caught at deep midwicket. The crowd cheered as they anticipated Virat Kohli to come out and dominate but instead, the Indian skipper sprung a surprise when Shivam Dube was promoted to number three. Initially, it looked like the move did not work as Dube slogged but failed to make contact as he struggled to 12 off 14 balls.
Rohit Sharma was also bogged down and he fell for 15 off 18 balls as he attempted to paddle scoop Jason Holder. However, prior to Rohit's dismissal, Dube had hit a six and a four to switch into gear and in the ninth over bowled by Kieron Pollard, carnage ensued. Dube struck three sixes and Pollard bowled wides as 26 runs came off the ninth over and the 26-year-old reached his maiden fifty off just 27 balls to make a statement. Dube received a life when Pollard missed a catch off Hayden Walsh Jr but he fell to the legspinner next ball for a well-made 54.
Virat Kohli looked to dominate but on 19, he was undone by some extra bounce from Kesrick Williams as he upper-cut a catch to third man. Thiruvananthapuram fell silent and Williams did not go for the notebook signature sledge. He instead opted to put his finger on the lips to indicate silence. Rishabh Pant struck some blows but yet again, he struggled for proper timing and indulged in mindless slogging as India ended on 170/7. It would prove to be a total slightly under-par thanks to the brilliance of Simmons.