India look to inflict T20I whitewash on West Indies￼
A confident Indian cricket team will look to inflict a series whitewash against West Indies in T20 Internationals when the two teams meet on Sunday night at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata for the third and final match of the series. India have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series after winning the second match by 8 runs, having earlier recorded a 6-wicket win in the opening match at the same venue.
India have so far been the best side among the two teams competing in white-ball series as they had earlier won the ODI series by a margin of 3-0, producing all-round performances. The West Indies, who had struggled with the bat in the ODI series particularly against the Indian spinners, have not done just enough to record a victory, for which they came close in the second match.
In a high-scoring match played on Friday night in Kolkata, West Indies fell short by 8 runs as half-centuries from their vice-captain Nicolas Pooran and middle order batsman Rovman Powell went in vain. Pooran was magnificent once again, scoring his second half-century on the trot while Powell hit 68 not out but his innings was not enough to take West Indies past the finish line.
West Indies could make only 178/3 in reply to India’s strong first innings total of 186/5, which was bolstered by half-centuries from their former captain Virat Kohli and explosive wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant. Both Kohli and Pant scored 52 runs each, in contrasting innings that powered India to a total which was beyond the reach of the Caribbean batsmen.
Pooran scored a stunning 62 from 41 balls with the help of five boundaries and three sixes while Powell made 68 not out from only 36 balls, hitting five sixes and four boundaries as the two batsmen added 100 runs for the third wicket to keep West Indies afloat. However, India’s fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel bowled brilliantly in the death overs to deny West Indies a victory which looked possible at one stage.
With India having rested Kohli and Pant for the final match of the series against West Indies and also in the upcoming series against Sri Lanka in their backyard, the home team is expected to test its bench strength with the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad and a few others in line to get their opportunities.
India still have plenty of firepower in their ranks given that all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer and middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav have been in good form with the bat, and the presence of a dangerous Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan as the opening pair puts them in the pole position to dominate the Caribbean side once again.