He returned figures of 4 for 12 in nine overs as India’s hit-the-deck bustle trumped West Indies
India 237 for 9 (Suryakumar 64, Rahul 49, Smith 2-29) beat West Indies 193 (Brooks 44, Hosein 34, Prasidh 4-12) by 44 runs
On an Ahmedabad track that offered extra bounce and zip throughout the game, Prasidh relentlessly dug the ball into it and discomfited a Kieron Pollard-less West Indies line-up. Thirty-six of the 54 balls he bowled were short or short of a good length, according to ESPNcricinfo’s logs.
The final exchange was a game of cat and mouse. Smith, who is amongst the biggest hitters in the CPL, muscled Thakur for back-to-back sixes and shovelled a full toss from Siraj for four. He took the chase deep, with at least two overs from either Washington Sundar or Deepak Hooda yet to come.
When Washington returned to the attack for the 45th over, West Indies needed 48 from 36 balls with two wickets in hand. Washington bowled a nerveless three-run over while also having Smith caught at deep midwicket. He bowled into the pitch and hid the ball away from the swinging arc of Smith.
The start, too, had been fairly positive for West Indies. Brandon King and Shai Hope hit four boundaries in six balls off Thakur and Siraj to take them to 31 for 0 in seven overs. Prasidh came into the attack in the next over and struck with his third ball when he gleaned extra bounce to have King nicking off for 18 off 20 balls. In his next over, he got a length ball to kick up and seam away to also have Darren Bravo edging behind. He then returned to the attack to hit an in-between length and have stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran caught by Rohit at wide slip for 9.
Earlier in the afternoon, India’s batters were given similar treatment by the West Indies seamers. Kemar Roach, who sprayed the ball around in the first ODI, tightened up in the second, using the crease and seam movement on offer to his advantage. He also found substantial extra bounce, having Rohit nicking off for 5 in his second over. Smith, who got a game in the niggle-enforced absence of captain Pollard, seized his opportunity by dismissing both Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli in the same over.
With Rahul returning to the team after missing the series opener because of a family commitment, India rejigged their batting line-up. While Rahul slotted in at No. 4, Pant was bumped up to open with Rohit. After surviving potent opening spells from Roach and Alzarri Joseph, Pant tried to swing his way out of trouble against Smith. After carving a short ball for four, he took on another short ball, only to sky a pull to Holder who snagged it near square leg.
Smith – and Joseph – had similarly tested Kohli with lifting deliveries, but the allrounder ultimately bested him with a length ball. Kohli went for a drive, lost his shape and nicked off for 18 off 30 balls. India were 43 for 3 in 12 overs at that stage.
It could’ve been 64 for 4 had wicketkeeper Hope not dropped a regulation catch to reprieve Rahul, when he was on 4, in the 18th over. Rahul broke free when Hosein bowled a half-tracker first ball, which was clattered over midwicket for six. Rahul then charged at Hosein, pumping him over his head for six. From being on 7 off 23 balls, he moved to 49 off 47 balls before running himself out in the 30th over.
As for Suryakumar, he kept milking the spinners and passed fifty. However, when he looked to hit a higher gear, he misjudged the length of an Allen dart and top-edged a sweep to short fine leg for 64 off 83 balls. Allen combined with Hosein to tighten the screws on India, despite a late cameo from Hooda (29 off 25 balls).
Hosein and Allen bowled five overs between them in the last ten while giving away only 22 runs for the wicket of Washington.
Washington, however, had the final say as India secured an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo