On a day when eleven men in maroon decided to go up against 33,000 spectators and their dear home team, West Indies defied all odds to defeat hosts India by 7 wickets with two balls to spare
Powered by a massive 97-run stand between opener Johnson Charles [52(36)] and emergency draft Lendl Simmons [82*(51)] for the second wicket, the Caribbeans scripted the chase with an assortment of guaranteed sixes, frequent boundaries and timely strokes of luck. After being pushed to the back-foot by India’s new-ball bowlers, Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah, through two early wickets of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, the dynamic duo of Charles and Simmons pulled a speedy recovery, thanks to some brilliant counter-attack and calculated risks. Then, it was India’s turn to experience the growing pressure and take the beating from the better side.
Earlier in the game, West Indies had sent India to bat first on a batting paradise, only to face their batsmen’s return to form. India posted a challenging total of 192/2 through three 50+ partnerships. Even though on a losing night, Virat Kohli again stood out for India with another show-stopping innings of 89 from just 47 deliveries. In his undefeated score, only a single six came off his willow as he dealt more with fours and hard-earned singles and doubles. Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and captain MS Dhoni supported the superstar with useful knocks.
On a batsman’s match, Windies no.3 Simmons shattered the Indian dream with a well-compiled half century. Called in as the crisis replacement for Andre Fletcher, he ensured that nobody had missed the injured batsman. A stark contrast to Kohli’s elegant one-man show, Simmons initially played a circumspect supportive role to the aggressive Charles. Once curtains fell on Charles’ fluent knock, Simmons decided take the attack to the opposition on his own. He stayed till the end of the jubilant chase, ending up with 7 fours and 5 sixes. West Indies only have one more hurdle to pass- the determined England team- whom they had already beaten in their inaugural Super 10 fixture. The two sides will lock horns in a blockbuster final at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Sunday.