India 188 for 7 (Iyer 64, Hooda 38, Smith 3-33) beat West Indies 100 (Hetmyer 56, Bishnoi 4-16, Kuldeep 3-12, Axar 3-15) by 88 runs
India thrashed a seemingly directionless West Indies by 88 runs in the fifth T20I to end the series with a 4-1 scoreline. Both sides made four changes each for the dead rubber but West Indies looked like just going through the motions. Their bowlers bowled three no balls, and on more than one occasion didn’t seem interested in fielding the ball in their follow-through, and most tellingly their attack lacked quality: there was no express pace, no point of difference, no accuracy.
Having rested both Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav, India opened with Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer. On a pitch that was in use for a second day running, shot-making wasn’t as straightforward as Kishan discovered when he went to pull Dominic Drakes in the fifth over but managed only a top edge to mid-on.
He was only to be outdone by Hooda who drove legspinner Hayden Walsh inside-out, into the wind and over extra-cover for India’s third straight six. From 95 for 1 in 10 overs, the two batters showed even higher intent, taking 17 off the 11th over, bowled by Obed McCoy for whom the series has gone south after his six-for in the second match. India were looking for a massive total here.
Walsh and Smith made a good comeback in the second half of the innings, which was interrupted for a while with the lightning-threat alarm going off. Under the Florida state laws, no sporting activity can go ahead if there is a threat of lightning in a seven-mile radius of the venue. Even the spectators had to find shelter.
On the field, West Indies found some respite with the ball sticking into the surface. Before the break, Walsh went round the wicket with a change of ends, made Hooda hit into the wind on the leg side, and had him caught in the deep. Holder had Iyer caught and bowled for 64 off 40.
Smith conceded just 18 off his last three overs – the 16th, 18th and 20th – by bowling into the pitch and varying his pace. He was rewarded with three wickets as India looked for quick runs. Except for the 19th over, in which stand-in captain Hardik Pandya hit Holder for two sixes and four, India struggled to score briskly. The last nine overs produced just 76 runs, but India had an imposing total on the board.
Axar owns the powerplay
Possibly because India saw two right-hand batters walk in to open, they threw the new ball to Axar, who consistently troubled the right-hand batters with lack of turn. After being hit on the inside half of the bat twice, Holder looked to paddle Axar only to be beaten on the inside edge and have his leg stump knocked back. After a wicket-maiden at the start, Axar took out Devon Thomas and Shamarh Brroks in the fifth over. Thomas looked to cut but the ball skidded on to beat the inside edge. Brooks was stumped, also beaten on the inside edge.
Wristspinners take over
Hetmyer played a lone hand of 56 off 35 at one end, but at the other, Kuldeep and Bishnoi wreaked havoc. Pooran was done in by a Kuldeep flipper, playing back to a full ball. Rovman Powell and Keemo Paul had no clue about the Bishnoi wrong’un. Drakes and Smith failed to respond to Kuldeep wrong’uns. Only Hetmyer stretched the innings before holing out to long-off off Bishnoi.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo