On the back of a humiliating defeat in the first T20I, West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran promised to bounce back, and that is exactly what his side did in the second T20I on Monday, downing the visitors by 5 wickets to level the series. It was the Rohit Sharma-led Indian side that entered the second game as favorites, but an otherworldly effort with the ball from Obed McCoy (6/17) helped the hosts bowl India out for 138, post which the batters kept their composure to knock off the target. The result at Warner Park means that the Windies, come the third T20I on Tuesday, will be eyeing to take an unlikely lead in the series.
The third T20I, too, will be played at the Warner Park in St Kitts. In our preview for the second game, the numbers revealed how pacers enjoyed the venue more than the spinners in the previous edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and Monday’s encounter too witnessed pace dominate proceedings. Pacers accounted for 12 of the 15 wickets to fall in the second T20I, led, of course, by the six-wicket haul from Obed McCoy.
Interestingly, however, the spinners did prove difficult to be put away. The second T20I saw 11 overs of spin be bowled, in which only 70 runs were leaked at an ER of 6.36. Both the left-arm spinners (Akeal Hosein 1/22 off 4 and Ravindra Jadeja 1/15 off 3) maintained an ER under 6.00. What we witnessed on Monday suggested that spinners, at the very least, could prove to be a very effective defensive option on this wicket. Should the third T20I be played on the same strip as the second one, the slower bowlers could very well get into the game even more.
Coming back to the pacers, the Windies quicks, in the second game, found great success hitting hard lengths (and bowling short) against the Indian batters. 6 of the 9 wickets the Windies pacers picked were pitched in the 6m-10m region; it proved to be a great attacking option on the day. It would be a surprise if the hosts don’t resort to the same tactics come Tuesday.
Captain and Vice-captain suggestions
For Small leagues: Rohit Sharma (c), Obed McCoy (vc)
For Grand leagues: Hardik Pandya (c), Brandon King (vc)
Stats that matter
* Since the start of 2020, Ravindra Jadeja has been dismissed under 25 in T20Is just thrice, in 11 innings.
* Since returning to the Indian T20 side last year, Ravichandran Ashwin has picked at least one wicket in each of the seven matches he’s played.
* Likewise, in his T20I career, there have been only three occasions (in 17 attempts) where Obed McCoy has failed to pick at least one wicket. This year in all T20s, in fact, McCoy has averaged more than 2 wickets per game, having picked 35 wickets in 17 innings.
* In his last 12 T20I innings, Rishabh Pant has just one 30+ knock to his name. In this period, the southpaw has averaged a paltry 18.70.
Grand League punts
* Brandon King struck a blistering 42 in the final game of the three-match ODI series and looked in similar flawless touch in the second T20I on Monday, where he guided the hosts over the line through a composed yet counter-punching 68. In the touch King is in, it wouldn’t be the worst of options to gamble on him.
* India’s gung-ho approach with the bat will mean plenty of batting time for Hardik Pandya. Given he’s now back to bowling consistently, he’s another player who you can take a punt on. Skipper Pandya?Why not.
* Both Ravichandran Ashwin and Obed McCoy are safe picks who will guarantee you wickets (read: points).
* Jadeja getting more batting time due to his promotion to No.6 (in order to delay DK’s entry point) is incentive enough to have him in your fantasy XI, maybe even as a vice-captain. He’ll guarantee solid runs and at least a wicket with the ball.
Here are the Top 10 Criclytics Projections
West Indies: Kyle Mayers, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran (c), Rovman Powell, Shimron Hetmyer, Devon Thomas (wk), Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Odean Smith, Alzarri Joseph, Obed McCoy
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh