Suryakumar Yadav was back to his disdainful best as India stayed alive in the series with a seven-wicket win over the West Indies in the third T20I here on Tuesday. West Indies skipper Rovman Powell’s whirlwind 40 not out off 19 balls pushed the hosts to 159 for five after Kuldeep Yadav (3/28) stemmed the flow of runs in the middle overs. Debutant Yashavi Jaiswal (1) and Shubman Gill (6) got out cheaply in run chase before Suryakumar came up with a special 83 off 44 balls to help India gun down the target in 17.5 overs. Tilak Varma (49 not out off 37) was happy to play second fiddle to his senior Mumbai Indians teammate in their 87-run stand. Tilak missed his second straight fifty in his debut series as skipper Hardik Pandya (20 not out off 15) hit the winning six.
West Indies lead the five-match series 2-1 with the next game to played in Lauderhill, Florida, on Saturday.
Suryakumar, who had a quiet tour up till now, flicked his first ball for a boundary. It is almost impossible to stop Suryakumar when he is finding the gaps at will and that is what the West Indies bowlers had to endure on Tuesday.
His innings comprised 10 fours and four sixes with the highlight being the picture perfect straight hit over pacer Obed McCoy’s head.
After Suryakumar’s dismissal in the 13th over, skipper Hardik and Tilak did the needful. The southpaw, who began his innings with back-to-back fours, once again showed he is here to stay.
Earlier, Kuldeep got rid of the dangerous Nicholas Pooran (20 off 12) and a well-set Brandon King (42 off 42) in the 15th over to wrest momentum from the West Indies.
In an unusual occurrence, the start of the game was slightly delayed as the 30-yard circle was not marked.
After opting to bat, the West Indies enjoyed their best start of the series with King and Kyle Mayers (25 off 20) sharing a 55-run stand.
The surface was on the slower side, as expected, prompting Hardik to introduce spin as early as in the third over via Axar Patel, who conceded a couple of boundaries.
Leggie Yuzvendra Chahal, who usually doesn’t bowl in the first six overs, was given that task on Tuesday. But Mayers put Chahal under pressure straight away by sweeping him for a six.
The third spinner, Kuldeep, came on to bowl after the powerplay and was whipped by Mayers for four on his very first ball. Three balls later, a courageous King stepped out to dispatch Kuldeep’s googly for a straight six.
Following the dismissal of Mayers and Johnson Charles, Pooran joined King and tried to stamp his authority over the Indian bowlers.
He came down the track to smash Kuldeep over long on, before collecting a boundary on the next ball.
Kuldeep, however, had the last laugh as the spinner beat a charging Pooran to have him stumped. Four balls later, Kuldeep took a sharp return catch to send back King, leaving West Indies at 106 for four in 14.5 overs.
Skipper Powell then came up with three sixes in the last two overs to prop up the total. Arshdeep Singh’s 19th over went for 17 runs, giving the home team a much-needed move on. The hosts collected 53 runs off the last 30 balls.
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