India wins a thriller despite Powell’s sensational sixes

By Kersi Meher-Homji

In an exciting finish India defeated the West Indies by 8 runs in the final pulsating over at Kolkata. The visitors needed 29 runs in the last two overs but fast-medium bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceded only four runs in the second last over, dismissing Nicholas Pooran for 62 runs.

Now they needed 25 runs in the final over from Harshal Patel to win this Twenty20 International and make the series one-all.


Not quite as the big hitter Rovman Powell hit two towering sixes. Two more sixes were needed off the last two balls for a sensational Windies victory.  But Harshal conceded only two singles and India won narrowly.

Sent in to bat, India scored 5 for 186 in 20 overs. Virat Kohli came back to form with a stylish innings of 52 which included 7 fours and a six. Subsequently Rishabh Pant, batting at number 5, fired with his customary left-handed aggression, remaining unbeaten with 52 with 7 fours and a six. He added 76 valuable runs with Venkatesh Iyer (33 runs with 4 fours and a six).

The visitors lost 2 for 59 in 8.3 overs needing a near impossible 128 runs for a win in only 11.3 overs at an astronomical strike rate of 11.33.

As if proving Napoleon’s theory that nothing is impossible, West Indian bats Nicholas Pooran (62 runs with 5 fours and 3 sixes) and power-packed Powell an unbeaten 68 with 4 fours and 5 sixes brought them close to a stunning victory. Powell was lucky when India’s quickie Bhuvneshwar Kumar dropped him off his own bowling when on 38.

The two mighty Ps, Pooran and Powell, had earlier put on 100 runs for the third wicket in only 10 overs.

India won by 8 runs to lead the series 2-0. But full marks to Powell for his magnificent tall hitting as my heart was in my mouth watching the climax.

Rishabh Pant was made Player of the Match. He said at the presentation, “I am fine wherever the team wants me to bat. I think all of us inside the circle were waiting for it but in the end it was Bhuvi bhai’s catch. I think the more you practise, the better you get [on his pick-up shot over short fine leg]. It’s never easy playing continuously with [COVID] bubbles but when I started playing, this is what I wanted to do. I think Powell was hitting bullets out there but at the back of the mind I was happy as well because we will be playing together for Delhi Capitals [in IPL].”

A relieved Indian skipper Rohit Sharma added, “You are always a bit scared when you are playing against these guys [West Indians]. In the end it was a phenomenal finish. Right from the start we knew it wouldn’t be easy. But I am proud we executed our plans under pressure.

“It was very critical at that point when Bhuvneshwar bowled. That’s where experience comes into play. Bhuvi has been doing it for many years and we believe in him a lot. The way Virat batted he took the pressure off me as well. It was a very important innings. And great finish by Rishabh and Venky Iyer. To see that sort of maturity from Iyer is very pleasing. He looks confident … We were a little sloppy in the field, a little disappointed with that. We could have done better if we had taken those catches. We want to try and minimise those mistakes moving forward.”

The final T20I starts on Sunday at Kolkata.

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