Suryakumar and Tilak take the chase at a canter to keep the series alive for India

India 164 for 3 (Suryakumar 83, Tilak 49*, Joseph 2-25) won West Indies 159 for 5 (King 42, Powell 40*, Kuldeep 3-28) with seven wickets

A superb 44-ball 83 from Suryakumar Yadav, peppered with boundary shots all over the park, kept India alive in the T20I series against the West Indies, although the score is still 2-1 in favor of the West Indies going into the leg of the USA. five game contest. India were on the verge of trouble when their two openers fell early in their chase of 160 – also the highest target of the series so far – but Suryakumar, the T20I world No.1, fought back with ten fours and four sixes.

His innings left the West Indies bowlers with few answers and allowed Tilak Varma to settle in quietly and play a decisive supporting role. Tilak flourished after Suryakumar’s dismissal and finished with an unbeaten 49 himself, a third consecutive innings of promise and the first to come in a win.

West Indies, who won the toss and elected to bat, posted 159 for 5, which looked steady on the slow surface. But with a steady drizzle coming into play in the second innings, their bowlers had a tougher time compared to the Indians. They failed to replicate what India’s spinners did – led by KuldeepYadav’s hat-trick – and the series now moves to the US with India possibly riding the momentum.

Kuldeep leads India’s spin dominance

West Indies captain Rowman Powell opted to bat on the toss, citing the used Providence surface, and India also believed the surface was slow, using nine straight spins starting in the third over. Openers Brandon King (42) and Kyle Mayers (25) found the occasional boundary in the powerplay, but the combination of Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal ensured West Indies could only score 38 runs in the first six overs.

Axar then scored the first breakthrough when Mayers fouled a slog sweep, ending the opening stand of 55 runs, after which Johnson Charles’ subdued innings allowed Chahal and Kuldeep to settle down. Kuldeep got on the scorecard when he successfully reviewed an lbw call to dismiss Charles with a googly.

With Nicholas Pooran coming in at No.4, India got back into rhythm, with Hardik bowling his second over. But Pooran pounced on Kuldeep’s left-arm wrist from the other end to show signs of a repeat from the second T20I, where he had scored a 40-ball 67.

Kuldeep, however, batted hard in the final over despite knowing Pooran’s penchant for big shots. He had Pooran bowled for 20 at one leg and then kept a sharp chance to remove King. And with the set batters gone, the West Indies were left with two new batters as they approached the final five overs.

Powell’s cameo gives West Indies a big finish

With four overs to go, and the West Indies on just 113, they needed the experienced pair of Shimron Hetmyer and Powell to step up. While Hetmyer fell on 18 to the first delivery of the match by Mukesh Kumar, Powell ran hard between the wickets to take two when they were available, then picked the Indians up quickly for boundaries.

There were full tosses from Mukesh and Arshdeep Singh and when Arshdeep missed his yorkers and served the slot deliveries, Powell hit them for two more sixes in a 19th over of 17 runs to give West Indies hope of a 160+ score.

A six over leg from Powell in the final over, bowled by Mukesh, who had given away just two runs from his first four balls of the over, helped the West Indies, but they could only set India on 160 for a win. After the game, however, Powell said West Indies were a run short, having “lost our way in the middle overs”.

SKY fires it up, Tilak produces another class act

Debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal was out in the first over of the chase to Obed McCoy while attempting a shot down the leg side, and soon after, a wayward Shubman Gill returned for 6 off 11 balls off top-scorer Alzarri Joseph. , the West Indies’ best bowler that day.

But between the two dismissals, Suryakumar was quick out of the blocks – hitting a four and a six off his first two balls – and moved at breakneck speed. Suryakumar didn’t let the dangerous Akeal Hosein settle down in the powerplay either, with a boundary in the left-arm spinner’s first two overs.

Tilak started in Suryakumar’s vein with two boundary shots after coming into bat in the fourth over after Gill’s wicket. The two then combined to extract 17 runs from McCoy in the final powerplay to put India well ahead of DLS parity with rain in the air.

After the powerplay, though, it was the Suryakumar show where the pitch spread made no difference to the Indian vice-captain. Roston Chase’s full toss was long off, before fours from Romario Shepherd took Suryakumar to his half-century off just 23 deliveries.

As the rain grew heavier – but not heavy enough to stop play – the wet ball made it harder for the West Indies bowlers to execute their plans and Suryakumar pounced on the smallest of mistakes in length or line to give them punish. A scoop over fine leg and a chipped shot behind point from Shepherd in the tenth over deflated the West Indies further, and at the halfway mark of the chase, India were 97 for 2 and in complete control.

Suryakumar eventually fell on 83 – two balls after hitting Joseph for the fourth six of the innings – when he tried to hit a loose ball at fine leg, but by then the required run rate was well below six. In the company of Hardik Pandya, Tilak took up the chase with an accurate pull from Hosein and a flick over square leg for a six from Shepherd.

Both Hardik and Tilak also showed solid communication when running between the wickets, and Tilak reached 49 in the 18th over with India needing two more to win. However, he would be idle from his second T20I fifty when Pandya drilled Powell for six over long-off to seal India’s victory with 13 balls to spare.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

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