The Boys in Blue trembled in their boots for nearly an hour when the feeling started sinking in slowly that they were being “marooned” in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad & Tobago.
They heaved a sigh of relief with Brandon King falling to Chahal, and the game tilted their way. The WI required 54 to win with just 33 balls to spare. It is not tall ask nowadays, but the wicket column was not happy reading for the WI. They were 6 down, and two tail enders were at the crease with all batting specialists back in the pavilion.
Akeal Hosein and Rom Shepherd were the only ones relatively unfazed by the situation. Both the bowlers turned into batters for a brief 40 minutes and scored at a blistering pace.
Six’s and four’s were the need of the hour with not a single dot ball in between. Shepherd was the primary aggressor and belted the Indian quickies. Hosein did best by scoring a couple of boundaries himself but rotated the strike well for Shepherd to unleash his carnage. The Boys in Maroon fell short of the target by just three runs or a delivery or two. Shikhar Dhawan and the Indian team smiled for the first time in an hour.
Earlier, India chose a XI which made many blink. They eliminated Gaikwad and chose to play Gill. Sanju walked in, leaving Ishan on the bench. Axar Patel came in for Ravindra Jadeja (injured perhaps?). Pooran won the toss and asked the Indians to bat first, a decision he would have rued till the 30th over. Gill swam through the pace attack with Dhawan supporting him at the other end.
Nic Pooran felled Gill. The skipper effected a brilliant run-out with a direct hit, but Gill had set the course for a big total. Shreyas and Dhawan brought down the scoring rate by more than a run to 5.75 but upped the tempo later.
Shikar was one stroke away from his century when Brooks took a brilliant catch. With Shikhar out at 97 and the run- the rate at 6.45 SKY and Shreyas played very cautiously. Or was the bowling getting better? Wickets started stumbling, and partnerships were never allowed to flourish. Deepak Hooda and SKY looked out of sorts after Nic Pooran held a catch to dismiss Shreyas that would have made Michael Jordan proud. It was a ‘slam-dunk’ and an incredible effort by the skipper.
India crawled to a mere 308 and atleast forty runs short of what they had promised earlier. It was Jayden Seals who ‘sealed’ India for a lower score than anticipated. His three overs in the middle part of the innings were economical and created more than a flutter.
Kyle Mayers was the Shubman Gill for the WI, and he played a lively inning till he fell when the score read 138. Brandon King took the cudgels from there and steadied the innings with his captain. Wickets kept falling, but the WI displayed resilience, a rare commodity for them nowadays.
Mohammad Siraj had to defend 14 runs in the final over for India not to lose. He kept the WI at bay, but one more delivery could have meant disaster for the visitors. Shikar Dhawan, the skipper, had a win and, along with it, the MOM for the match. But, even he knew it was a close shave. Bearded or not!
|India Innings (bat)||308/7 (50 Overs).Shikar Dhawan- 97 of 99Shubman Gill- 64 of 53Shreyas Iyer- 54 of 57|
|WI (bowling)||Alzarri Joseph– 2 for 61G. Motie- 2 For 54|
|WI Innings (bat)||305/6 (50 Overs)|
Kyle Mayers-75 of 68Brooks- 46 of 61B. King -54 of 66N.Pooran – 25 of 26A.Hosein*- 32 of 32R.shepherd- 39 of 25
|India (bowling)||M. Siraj – 2 for 57S. Thakur- 2 for 54 (8 ov)Y. Chahal- 2 for 58|