Opener Lendl Simmons struck an attacking 67 to lead the West Indies to a series-levelling eight-wicket win over India in the second T20 international on Monday (AEDT) — and the visitors also hit back in the sledging stakes.
Simmons put on crucial partnerships including a 73-run opening stand with Evin Lewis, who made 40, as West Indies chased down 171 in 18.3 overs to level the three-match series at 1-1 in Thiruvananthapuram.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli, fresh off a career-high 94 not out in the series-opener on Saturday, was out for 19, undone by his nemesis Kesrick Williams when he cut a slower ball straight to backward point.
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Williams put his finger up to his lips in a “sshh” gesture as he bounced back in his personal duel with one of the world’s best white ball batsman.
It came after Kohli celebrated smacking Williams for six on Saturday by imitating writing in a notebook, signing off with a flurry. That was inspired by an earlier incident between the pair, when Williams did the exact same thing after getting Kohli out in the Caribbean.
“It happened to me in Jamaica when he got me out. So I thought I’ll tick a few in the notebook as well,” Kohli explained.
But the 31-year-old had no comeback as Williams and the Windies ensured there will be everything to play for in the final match of the series on Thursday.
CHECK OUT KOHLI’S NOTEBOOK TROLL IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE
No words needed for Kesrick Williams.Source:AFP
Simmons survived a dropped catch on six by Washington Sundar to complete his sixth T20 fifty and anchor the chase after their bowlers limited the hosts to 7/170.
He found support in wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran, who hit the winning boundary to finish unbeaten on 38 off 18 balls after returning to the side following his four-match ban for ball tampering.
“To be able to restrict India to 170 after my expensive over, it was fantastic,” said West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard.
“The way we batted, we had discussed how to approach the game, and the boys played it well.
“We have some guys who have done well from the CPL (Caribbean Premier League T20), and we are excited for them.”
Williams and leg-spinner Hayden Walsh claimed two wickets each to play a key part in restricting the hosts.
Simmons, who hit four fours and four sixes in his 45-ball knock, and the left-handed Pooran put on 61 runs to flatten the Indian bowling that was let down by some sloppy fielding.
Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar was on the receiving end of two spills. After Simmons was put down, Lewis earned a reprieve on 16 following a drop by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.
Kohli remained the exception with a sensational catch to get rid of Shimron Hetmyer, for 23, as his bid to hit a third successive six off Ravindra Jadeja brought his downfall.
Kohli covered good ground while running from long on to catch the ball and maintained control after taking a tumble as his sliding body stayed inside the rope.
Lendl Simmons led from the front for the Windies.Source:AP
The Indian batting depended on Shivam Dube’s 54 off 30 balls and an unbeaten 33 from Pant to post a competitive total after being put in to bat first.
India lost its openers with the score on 56 but the left-handed Dube, promoted to number three in the batting order, counter-attacked with three fours and four sixes.
“Shivam’s knock helped us reach 170. To be honest, West Indies bowled cutters and their change of pace did not help us,” said Kohli.
“But if we field so poorly, no amount of runs will be enough.”
Kohli was out shortly after edging past Rohit Sharma as the world’s most prolific T20 scorer with 2563 runs.
Both Kohli and Sharma (2562 runs) are locked in a battle of supremacy as the top run-getter in the shortest format.
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