Venue changed. We moved from Florida to Guyana. But, sadly for the West Indies, the script turned out to be exactly the same as Team India inflicted their second consecutive whitewash over the hosts. Led by Deepak Chahar's sensational new-ball spell coupled by the calculated assault by Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant, Team India closed out the series with a seven-wicket win at Guyana.
Chahar blows away West Indies top-order
Bowling first on a surface which had been under covers leading to the start, India's new-ball pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar made perfect use of the conditions on offer. Both bowlers consistently challenged the outside edge of Narine and Lewis.
Deepak Chahar got the Men in Blue their first breakthrough when after tempting Narine outside the off-stump with a series of inswingers and outswingers, Chahar shortened his length only for the off-spinner to top-edge it to Navdeep Saini at mid-on. Evin Lewis tried to take the attack on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, stroking him for a boundary in his 2nd over.
But, his stay proved to be short-lived as Deepak Chahar got one to swing into his pads. Lewis shuffled and gets beaten due to the lack of pace and was pinned right in front. WI- 2-13. But Chahar wasn't done yet. He got another one to swing in sharply into Hetmayer's pads, who missed his flick to get pinned in front of the stumps. His first spell read: 3-1-4-3.
Pollard counterattacks before Saini breaks the 66-run stand
Once again, after the collapse of the top-order, it was left to Kieron Pollard to resurrect their fledgling ship. And, the big man chose to do it by taking the attack to the Indian spinners. Rahul Chahar was greeted for two sixes in his 2nd over in International cricket as 40 runs came between overs 8-12 to signal some sort of a comeback.
With the partnership (66) between Pollard and Pooran threatening to take West Indies out of the troubled waters, Kohli needed a breakthrough and he turned to Navdeep Saini. Saini didn't disappoint as he induced an outside edge off Pooran's bat who was trying to drive the away-angler past covers.
Pollard completes a half-century but India continue to chip away
But Pollard, after surviving a DRS call for LBW, continued to take the attack to the spinners. The all-rounder brought up his first T20I fifty since 2012 with a six over deep midwicket and followed it up with a Brobdingnagian strike down the ground off Krunal Pandya.
But just as he was threatening to take the game away from India, Saini got through his defenses to peg the run-scoring down. Kohli got Rahul Chahar into the attack as soon as Pollard was dismissed and the youngster proceeded to get his maiden T20I wicket when Carlos Brathwaite holed out to long-on. Fabian Allen (1 six) and Rovman Powell (2 sixes off Saini) stroked a few lusty blows, in the end, to help their side post a competitive 6-146 after 20 overs.
Rahul throws away a good start; Dhawan's poor form continues
KL Rahul announced his arrival to the T20I series with an audacious six, launching Cottrell over long-off. But Shikhar Dhawan's poor run-of-form in the series continued. The left-hander gave a simple catch to short fine-leg while trying to play the pull.
Dhawan's dismissal did not deter Rahul one bit. The right-hander played some delightful strokes before one shot proved too many and was stumped in an attempt to heave Fabian Allen over long-on.
Kohli and Pant consolidate the innings
After having lost two quick wickets, Kohli and Pant then proceeded to consolidate the innings. The duo ran well between the wickets, easily converting 1s into 2s besides cashing in on anything loose from the bowlers. At the halfway stage, India were 2-62, requiring a further 85 runs off the last ten.
Carlos Brathwaite brought himself into the attack and was treated with a cracking cover-drive from Virat Kohli. The partnership soon crossed the 50-run mark and the duo kept on tickling the 1s and 2s besides taking the odd risk for a boundary. Kohli cover-drove Brathwaite for fun while Pant, unlike the last few innings, calculated his risks a lot better.
Before unleashing the calculated onslaught...
The duo laid in Keemo Paul in the 15th over. While Kohli flicked him over deep mid-wicket, Pant stroked him over deep cover for a maximum to bring the equation down to 38 off 30 balls. The Indian captain soon brought up his 21st half-century with a whip over square-leg off Sunil Narine before Pant reverse-swept the off-spinner to whiter down the equation to 27 off 24 balls.
Then came Pant special. A nonchalant whip off over square-leg off Sheldon Cottrell to bring up the 100-run stand between the duo. It was that sort of a shot that makes you wonder " Geez! This guy has so much talent. Why can't he give himself a bit more time before laying into the bowlers like he did today".A question which perhaps will never be answered.
The West Indies were finally able to dismiss Kohli (59) only for Pant to take the center stage and play another one of those 'Pant' shots. The one he played against Bumrah in this years IPL where he just sat back deep in the crease, took it as a low full-toss and just flicked it behind deep square-leg. The look on Thomas' face said it all. And, fittingly, it was Pant (65) brutal strike down the ground that sealed Team India's second consecutive whitewash over the defending champions.
West Indies [6-146, Pollard 58, Deepak Chahar 3-4] lost to India [3-150, Kohli 59, Pant 65*, Thomas 2-29]