It was nothing less than a slog-fest in the 3rd T20I at the Wankhede. The fans were treated with some of the best hitting possible. However, it was the ‘Men in Blue’ who managed to do this better than the visitors. Thus, they bagged the series after registering a 67-run win. It was yet another challenge when India was asked to bat first. Their record batting first hasn’t been particularly great this year. Virat Kohli always prided his side’s approach of running hard between the wickets and playing risk-free cricket.
But on this occasion, it was completely different. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul went bonkers after the bowlers right from the first ball. 72 runs came in the first six overs and 102 runs in the first eight. They set the platform for India by scoring over 12 runs almost every over. The senior-pro was the aggressor in the partnership and raced his way to a 34-ball 71. Once he got out, Virat Kohli took over and played a kind of knock the fans never expected from him.
He remained unbeaten on 70 off 29 balls in an innings that included 7 sixes and 4 fours. Meanwhile, KL Rahul slowly raced his way to 91 but was unfortunate not to have got his hundred. The side put up 240/3 on the board in 20 overs. The chase was all about Kieron Pollard (68 off 39 balls) and Shimron Hetmyer (41 off 24 balls) for the West Indies. But that wasn’t sufficient to help them win the game. They lost by 67 runs and surely missed the services of Evin Lewis.
KL Rahul, the Man of the Match said,
Both (Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma) of them were in a destructive mood today, they were hitting the ball so sweetly from ball one. It’s pretty obvious that our record hasn’t been great batting first, and we’re looking to see what we can do to put up better totals. It was a great opportunity to bat first in a series decider, and it came off, and it’ll give us a lot of confidence going into the other T20 series going forward.
Kieron Pollard, the West Indies captain, said
Taking the positives, when you look at our performances with the bat through the series, consistent, we’ll take that as a unit. At the end of the day, we know we need to get better at executing with the ball. In our minds [240 was gettable]. 230 has been chased here when England played South Africa.
There’s a lot of emerging players coming through. Yes, the bowling is a concern, but we have a roster of guys coming through. Those are the areas, but we know success is a boring thing, you need to do the right things day in and day out. Yes, we lost 2-1, but we have three more games to look forward to in the ODIs.
Virat Kohli, the India captain and the Man of the Series, said
We (Team India) had spoken a lot. It was about going out on the field and executing. I had the opportunity to do something different, which I don’t usually do. I told KL to stay on till the end and said I’ll try and smash a few. It was my second-year anniversary today, my wedding, and it was a special day for me. I know that I can contribute in all formats, it’s about putting your mind to it. My role becomes crucial because I have to play two roles.
I’m trying to be able to play like this as well. You have to do it out there in the middle to gain confidence from it. I think two guys in the middle with clarity, the way Rahul and Rohit played today, that is key. Batting first [earlier], we’ve been too tight and hesitant, should we go for it, should we not.