Kolkata: A classy fifty from Suryakumar Yadav (65 off 31) and an aggressive knock by Venkatesh Iyer (35 off 19) propelled India to 184-5 against West Indies in the third and final T20I at the Eden Gardens, here on Sunday.
At 93-4, India were in trouble but Suryakumar and Venkatesh came to the rescue and stitched a big partnership of 91 runs to help hosts post a solid total.
Put into bat, India sent a new pair of Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad to open the innings. However, it didn’t yield a positive result as Jason Holder dismissed Ruturaj Gaikwad for four, giving West Indies the first breakthrough in the 3rd over of the innings.
Shreyas Iyer, who was playing his first match of the series then joined Ishan at the crease. The duo hit a flurry of boundaries to tilt the momentum back in India’s favour, taking hosts to 43/1 after six overs.
Hayden Walsh then put down a tough return catch to give Kishan a reprieve in the seventh over while Iyer whipped a Chase delivery to the cow-corner region for a four in the eighth over, bringing the 50-run stand for the second wicket between him and Ishan off 32 balls.
Just when it looked like the Indian batters would up the ante, Walsh struck in his second over to pick up the wicket of Iyer (25 off 16), who tried to go over the top but wasn’t in full control of the shot and ended up slicing it to Holder at long-off. Soon, Roston Chase got rid of Kishan, who attempted the pull shot off but the ball came on straight and the batter was eventually bowled. Kishan departed for 34 off 31, leaving India at 66/3 after 9.3 overs.
After losing two quick wickets, India were in a spot of bother but the pair of Suryakumar Yadav and skipper Rohit Sharma had a much-needed partnership between them. Though Suryakumar, who looked in fine touch was the major contributor between the two as Rohit was far from his best.
It was Dominic Drakes, who gave visitors their next wicket, dismissing Indian captain Rohit for 7 off 15 in the 14th over. From there on, Suryakumar and Venkatesh Iyer mixed caution with aggression and kept the scoreboard ticking with boundaries at regular intervals.
Both Suryakumar and Venkatesh played some beautiful shots and took 17 runs each in 16th and 17th overs respectively. Holder gave away only four off the first four balls of the 18th over but Venkatesh hit one six at the fine-leg fence off the fifth ball.
Thereafter, Iyer and Suryakumar dealt in boundaries in the last two overs. During the process, Surya hit his fifty in the first ball of the last over and smashed two more sixes before getting out in the last delivery.
Overall, India got the much-needed late impetus after a top-order failure as both Venkatesh and Suryakumar scored 69 runs in the last five overs, taking India to 184-5 in 20 overs.
Brief scores: India 184-5 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 65, Venkatesh Iyer 35; Roston Chase 1/23) vs West Indies.