Can you predict who will win the West Indies vs India Final T20?
The West Indies don’t always win a T20! Strange that it may sound, the ongoing year has only seen the Pollard-led side win 2 T20s.
Yet, they are a team that has in possession something India don’t- two world titles in the shortest format of the game.
So given that one among their easily countable wins came against a significantly powerful side, especially at the back of a morale-thumping loss in the series opener, made the victory all the more special and the success against a formidable opponent, perhaps a fitting return to winning ways.
While most teams consider it a great feat in itself to tackle Virat Kohli’s side; a unit that has turned heads given its penchant for sheer consistency and that Kohli-esque drive to win, again and again, that Pollard’s men scored the equalizer at Kerala saves us from the tedium of watching yet another one-sided series.
At the same time, it gives the possibility of witnessing the West Indies vs India 2019 T20 series decider at Wankhede, a close-watch and hopefully, an utterly thrilling one.
While there’s still a lot of cricket to be played in the 40 overs of the West Indies vs India 2019 T20 series final but for the Caribbean fans, the Second T20 international was nothing shy of a joy-ride.
The much-needed win, scored after the visitors being hammered on three games on the trot, including back-to-back losses against Afghanistan, brought about as much respite for the Windies unit, as it did for fans who may have shared the agony of a team that was brought down to its knees by Kohli’s army, in front of home fans, earlier in the Caribbean.
A comprehensive win with 9 balls to spare, in the Second ODI of the West Indies vs India 2019 T20 series gave the visitors (to India) the much-needed breathing space to make time for some well-earned celebration, as several key members of the T20 core arose back to form.
Let’s look at some positives the West Indies will hope continue in the final game of the West Indies vs India 2019 T20 series:
A much more disciplined bowling effort by West Indies against India
While in the opening game of the 3-match T20 series, the Windies bowlers were picked by hungry Indian batsmen akin to a lamb being picked up by its prey in the wild, the Kerala-T20 produced a significantly improved performance.
Even as 6 extras were conceded in the very first over of the Windies bowling inning-an area desperately crying out for some attention- the Windies bowlers were successful in taking crucial wickets at regular intervals.
This prevented partnerships from blooming, even as at one point, Rahul and Dubey, and later, Dubey and Kohli’s stand had threatened to take the game away from Pollard’s side.
That Pierre- 2 overs for 11 including 1 wicket (KL Rahul)- and Hayden Walsh Jr- 2 for 28 from 4- struck vital blows, rendering a dent in the top and middle orders of a side where just about any batsman can come in and play the wrecker in chief.
Moreover, Pierre and Walsh bowled a tight line, sticking to a more disciplined approach; bowling within the stumps, something one didn’t see to a great effect in the first game of the series. Cottrell and Holder provided wickets to put forward a clinical bowling demonstration to aid a side desperate to win.
Evin Lewis’ big-hitting form
Among the batsmen who love to get going once they are set, Evin Lewis entertains just as much as he threatens bowlers.
Not a batsman who makes a big sound or noise at the wake of success or for that matter appears to be the most interactive, Lewis, nearing 1000 T20 runs, continues to attack and generate awe silently.
That Lewis, who followed up his 40 at Hyderabad with another strong, this time-match-winning 40 at Kerala was his success in forging a stand up the order.
It could be said, Simmon’s early departure in the first game perhaps putting a lot of pressure on the free-scoring Trinidadian.
This time around, Lewis, fluent as usual against medium pace and punishing on the short ball, made even Deepak Chahar look rusty.
Kesrick Williams’ return to normalcy
The end of the opening contest in the West Indies vs India 2019 T20 series produced a ‘meme-worthy’ material- Kohli giving the notebook send-off to the man who invented it in the first place, and perhaps much to his horror, did the mistake of offering it to a man who’s always keen to repay the regard earlier in the Caribbean: Virat Kohli.
That Kesrick Williams- a disciplined, thinking cricketer, someone who likes to put the brakes on the scoring- became a subject of ridicule, going for 60 off just 3.2 overs at the back of a Kohli-special made Williams seem ordinary.
Perhaps even harmless if seen from Kohli’s unrelenting master-class at Hyderabad. But central to West Indies’ magnificent return to form was the same bowler who had struggled.
Williams variated his pace, thought hard before he bowled, and succeeded in the end as he removed Virat from the middle.
Nicholas Pooran’s return
After sitting out for four international games, Pooran made most of his Windies return as he carved an 18-ball-38, taking Windies home in a comfortable fashion that was every bit as thrilling as it was rare.
That the Windies haven’t been up to their best in a format where they are so highly rated made the win special. But that the foundation of the win was laid by Pooran, a batsman who’s considered the future of West Indies, made the triumph worth everyone’s while.
The glorious cover-driving, with the somewhat angular bat protruding in the final flourish, made Pooran’s effort more than just a cameo; but a serene outing for the eyes.
Lendl Simmons back in the runs
The last time that Lendl Simmons carved out a match-winning role for the West Indies- at the Wankhede, in the semis of the World T20, 2016- the Trinidadian was 31. Importantly, he was far more visible in the West Indian T20 set-up than he is today.
3 years, one 50-over World Cup, and some chop and changes hence, Lendl Simmons returned to a familiar match-winning role, once again from the top order, proving that the bludgeoning of the blade was very much intact, an exhibition of which the last time around sent Indians into a state of silence as the Windies made it to the finals of their favored format.
This time, he plundered 4 sixes and some very appetizing strokes on his way to a 67 off just 45 balls.
For someone who doesn’t always let the passion for big-hitting take the longer, elevated route, being adept at hitting flat sixes, it did help the Trinidadian’s fortunes that he was grassed early on in his inning.
It was something that horrified the Indian fans as the last time it happened, at Wankhede, the Windies were over the ropes, and perhaps, even over the moon. But can Wankhede change the narrative this time around?
All to play for in the 3rd game of the West Indies vs India 2019 T20 series.
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