2nd T20I: Rohit, Krunal lift India to 167/5 after Cottrell, Thomas strangle middle order
Rohit Sharma looked in ominous touch during his 67. (AFP Image)

Krunal Pandya’s lusty blows towards the end lifted India to a challenging 167/5 in 20 overs against West Indies in the second T20I at Lauderhill, Florida on Saturday. India began positively with Rohit Sharma continuing his sparkling form and scoring a half-century, before Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas strangled the innings with four wickets between themselves.

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From 92/1 in 12 overs, India laboured to 147/5 at the end of the 19th before Pandya took 20 off the final over from Paul.

Overnight rains left a few concerning marks on the surface, but India’s opening pair of Rohit and Dhawan couldn’t be least bothered. They got India off to a brisk start adding their 10th fifty-plus partnership in T20Is. After Rohit swivelled to pull the first ball of the innings for a boundary behind square, West Indies began waywardly. Cottrell bowled three wides in his opening over before Dhawan and Rohit helped themselves to easy boundaries.

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West Indies wasted a review on Dhawan after a bouncer from Thomas was somehow convincing enough for them to go upstairs. However, no spike on the snicko meant that they lost their only review in the first over of the match itself. Sunil Narine had had quite a bit of success over Rohit, in T20s. In 146 balls, Rohit had managed to get just 158 runs while being dismissed eight times.

That wouldn’t happen on Sunday, as Rohit swatted Narine over deep midwicket to become T20Is leading six-hitter. Rohit took on Keemo Paul cracking him for a six and a four to really trigger ominous sings for the West Indies. His partner Dhawan was a bit subtle, even though he did manage boundaries off Carlos Brathwaite and Narine. After the lower back half of Dhawan’s bat broke, the batsman charged down to play an ugly hoick and was castled for West Indies’ first wicket.

Kohli and Rohit added 48 in six overs. Kohli joined Rohit and danced down the wicket to Narine for his first six before West Indies pulled things back through some tidy overs. Rohit, approaching his half-century switched gears and launched Brathwaite for a six and a four off three balls before copping a blow to his right elbow going for a swing.

India, who were placed at 98 for 1 in 12 overs, seemed to be racing past the average first innings score of 140 before Thomas strangled the innings. Having conceded 18 in his first two overs, Thomas struck a couple of telling blows to India. Rohit top edged Thomas for Shimron Hetmyer to safely take the catch at cover and Rishabh Pant blew another opportunity after he upper cut him to Kieron Pollard at deep third man.

Cottrell got the opportunity to bring out his salute celebration as Kohli missed his on-side whip. Between over 13 and 19, India managed just one boundary. Manish Pandey became Cottrell’s second wicket and suddenly, West Indies looked like keeping India inside 150 before Pandya tucked into Paul. The first ball was a full toss on Pandya’s pads and he dispatched it over deep midwicket. The next was full and Pandya hammered it over long-on. Paul lost his length again off the penultimate ball, but Pandya ensured he gave yet another full toss the treatment it deserved.