KL Rahul and MS Dhoni a;most took India to an improbable win in the first T20I ©  AFP
KL Rahul and MS Dhoni a;most took India to an improbable win in the first T20I © AFP

After a thrilling first match, India and West Indies lock horns in the second and final T20 International (T20I) at Lauderhill. Given a target of 246 and needing two off the final ball, skipper MS Dhoni failed to place the ball and found Marlon Samuels at short third man – the same fielder who had dropped his catch in the first ball off the final over, when India needed eight – to hand West Indies the win. Dhoni was in a similar situation during the Zimbabwe tour, where he managed to get a single, when India needed four off the final delivery to win the match. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs West Indies, 2nd T20I at Lauderhill 

There was no doubt that it was the batsmen, who dominated. After being put into bat, West Indies openers Johnson Charles and Evin Lewis dominated right from ball one. The fact that the first over of the match from Mohammed Shami went for 17, was clearly an indication of a high-scoring match to come. Charles should have ideally opened the batting with Gayle, who, being unfit for the match, gave Lewis a chance to have a go. Lewis had a forgettable debut against Afghanistan at the ICC World T20 2016. He was dismissed for a duck and had a lot to prove in this match.

Many would have seen him in action in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) last year, where he slammed season’s first century. He did not time the ball as well as Charles in the early part of the innings, but once he got his eye in, there was no stopping him. He brought up his 100 off just 48 balls, but more importantly, had put on 126 in 9.3 overs with Charles to lay the platform for West Indies. READ: MS Dhoni: IND couldn’t have expected more from the batting unit

One of course must not forget the contribution of Charles, who batted beautifully for his 33-ball 79. After this onslaught, it was not surprising to see some of the hard-hitters, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and Carlos Brathwaite come in at Nos. 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Their power-hitting was good enough to ensure that West Indies got to 245 for 6.

But credit has to be given to Jasprit Bumrah for picking up a couple of wickets in an over. He also had the presence of mind to collect the ball in his follow up and run Brathwaite out at the non-striker’s end. He also removed Lendl Simmons and Pollard in the same over, which helped India restrict West Indies to a certain level.

India have a world class batting line-up and it was evident right from the beginning that they will not go down without a fight. India had not selected Shikhar Dhawan for this match and as a result, Ajinkya Rahane got a chance to open the innings with Rohit Sharma. With Rahane failing to get runs, we may see Shikhar Dhawan returning to the playing XI. READ: IND vs WI 1st T20I 2016: Dhoni breaks Ponting’s record

It is very rare that we see Virat Kohli fail, but he was caught down the leg side off Bravo, which was a huge wicket at that stage. Rahul had made a promising start to his limited-overs career and in the first T20I, he just took his batting to a different level. He was dropped when he was on 38, but he made his chance count and went on to become only the third Indian to score a century in all formats after Suresh Raina and Rohit. READ: India vs West Indies in USA: Cricket returns to Uncle Sam’s territory

Skipper Dhoni came in after Rohit was dismissed for 28-ball 62. India still needed 109 more to win in 49 balls, when Dhoni walked in. West Indies would have thought that they were in full control. But that is when the batsmen shifted gears and started scoring according to the required run rate. They were particularly severe on Sunil Narine, who went for 50 in his three overs. West Indies failed to pick up any wicket during this period and it was all down to Bravo to ensure that India do not get eight off the final over.

He did exactly that and much to the distraught of the Indian skipper, Bravo and West Indies celebrated the fact that they had just gotten out of jail. Bravo bowled a risky slow ball outside off, Dhoni as a result could not get any power behind that and Samuels pouched a simple catch eventually. READ: IND vs WI, 1st T20I 2016, Highlights & Results

Brathwaite has gotten off to a wonderful start as captain of the West Indies side. A close fought win like this really brings the team together and he will hope that his side repeats the same in the next match. They will hope to have the services of Gayle back in the match. But with everyone playing their part in the first match, it will be interesting to see who he replaces. The second T20I s set to be yet another exciting, high-scoring game. There is a lot at stake. A loss for India will not only hand West Indies a 2-0 whitewash, but India will also lose their No. 2 ranking to their opponents.

Squads:

India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav

West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (c), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher (wk), Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons

TIME: 19.30 IST | 14.00 GMT | 10.oo Local

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry.com. He is a sport enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world’s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)