India registered their record-equalling ninth consecutive
victory in the T20I format, as they completed a clean sweep over the West
Indies in the 3rd T20 with a comfortable 17-run win at the Eden Gardens in
Kolkata. Suryakumar Yadav stole the show with the bat for the Men in Blue,
creaming seven sixes in his 31-ball 65 and sharing a 91-run partnership with
Venkatesh Iyer (35* off 19) to help India post 184 on the board.
Nicholas Pooran gave the visitors some hope in the run-chase
with his third consecutive half-century of the series, but Harshal Patel
finished with career-best figures of 3 for 22 to see India home and leave the
West Indies winless in their white-ball tour of the subcontinent.
Having already sealed the series victory, India made a raft
of changes for the final encounter with Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, and
Yuzvendra Chahal afforded some rest. Ruturaj Gaikwad was given a rare
opportunity at the top of the order alongside Ishan Kishan, but the 2021 IPL
orange cap winner couldn’t make it count, falling for just four after
top-edging a Jason Holder delivery.
Despite the early setback, Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan got
India off to a promising start in the powerplay, but were dismissed in
consecutive overs against the spinners as they looked to up the ante. Entering
at number four, Rohit Sharma also struggled through the middle, scoring just
seven runs off 15 balls before falling to Dominic Drakes.
Rohit’s dismissal brought Venkatesh Iyer and Suryakumar
Yadav back together at the crease, and after a cautious start, both batters
tore apart the West Indies pacers with their audacious stroke-play. The pair
sent nine strikes over the boundary ropes between them and helped India score
86 runs in the final five overs, the most they have managed in overs 16 to 20
in T20I history.
Chasing 185, the West Indies learned their lesson from the
2nd T20I and made the most of the field restrictions as they managed 68 runs in
the powerplay thanks to some positive intent from Rovman Powell and Nicholas
Pooran. However, this ultra-aggressive approach also saw the visitors lose five
wickets inside the first 10.2 overs, with Deepak Chahar nicking off openers
Shai Hope and Kyle Mayers while Venkatesh Iyer removed all-rounders Pollard and
Jason Holder in quick succession.
Nicholas Pooran kept the tourists interested with another 50,
and the vice-captain was kept good company by all-rounder Romario Shepherd to
leave the West Indies needing 37 off the final three overs. However, Harshal
Patel (3 for 22) and Shardul Thakur (2 for 33) bowled with unerring accuracy at
the death, conceding 19 runs off the final 18 deliveries as India sealed the
3-0 series clean sweep with another ruthless performance with bat and ball.