Team India shrugged off the defending champions West Indies with absolute disdain in the series decider at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to seal the series 2-1. In a way, India also avenged their World Twenty20 semi-final loss three years ago at the same venue and against the same opponent.
There are victories which give you immense satisfaction and it is fair to say that the 67-run-win in Mumbai would have given enough satisfaction to not only Kohli & Co but also their fans. For far too long, India has employed this ‘safety-first-attack-second’ approach, especially when batting first. It cost them the 2016 WT20 semi-final and a plethora of games before Wednesday’s decider.
That all changed in the 3rd T20I. After having been put into bat by Kieron Pollard, India needed to score big, considering the flatness of the track and the dew which comes to play during the second half. The openers- Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul- set the tone as they racked 72 runs in the first powerplay.
And, unlike a lot of other games in the past where the batsmen have slowed down after the powerplay, Rohit (71 off 34 balls) and Rahul (91 off 56 balls) went hammer and tongs to post 135 in 11 overs. Naturally, everyone, including the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly was delighted with the teams’ renewed approach.
Ganguly took to Twitter where he wrote, “Not many expected India to lose a series .. win was not a surprise .. what will stand out is the fearless batting which all will see in T20 now ..play without fear. no one plays for his place but plays to win ..well done India @BCCI @imVkohli @JayShah @ImRo45”
Not many expected india to lose a series .. win was not a surprise .. what will stand out is the fearless batting which all will see in T20 now ..play without fear .. no one plays for his place but plays to win ..well done india @BCCI @imVkohli @JayShah @ImRo45
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) December 11, 2019
Virat Kohli – the spearhead in India’s renewed approach game
Post the dismissal of Rohit Sharma, Kohli sent Rishabh Pant at No.3 to continue with the scoring rate. However, the southpaw holed out for a duck. But, Kohli knew what was to be done. And, he got even more focussed and driven courtesy some exchange of words with the West Indians.
And, then the massacre followed. In what was a whirlwind as well as a sumptuous display of stroke-making, the West Indians kept bowling to his legs, and the Indian captain kept hitting over square-leg and mid-wicket via a flick-of-his-wrist.
The Indian captain scored 70 off just 29 balls- an innings which included seven sixes and four boundaries, and it was his innings that turned out to be a game-changing aspect of the encounter.
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