In the second T20I, while chasing West Indies’ target of 153 runs, India was in a strong position twice. First, when Hardik Pandya took two wickets in the very first over, and before that, Arshdeep Singh also struck with a new ball, resulting in the hosts losing three wickets in just four overs in Guyana
However, Nicholas Pooran’s counter-attacking innings ensured the home team’s comeback, and they achieved it with 18 runs scored in the final over of the powerplay.
Another turning point came when Mukesh Kumar dismissed Pooran, securing the most crucial success for India. Prior to that, Yuzvendra Chahal had dismantled the opposition, taking two wickets in an over, putting India on course for a series-leveling victory, despite needing 23 runs off 4 overs with two wickets in hand.
With only 23 runs needed to win and Akil Hossain being the last West Indian batsman, India seemed destined to secure a victory, especially with Chahal having an over left to bowl.
In the 17th over, after Mukesh got out, it was expected that Chahal would complete his quota in the 18th over. As the leg spinner approached the crease, Hardik intervened, bringing Arshdeep Singh and then Mukesh back into the attack. Akil managed to hit a four off each of the quick bowlers, but Alzarri Joseph’s wicket on Mukesh’s ball meant that Chahal was left as a mere spectator while West Indies moved closer to victory with only two wickets in hand.
This was the first time India lost two consecutive T20 matches against the West Indies in bilateral series. Previously, they had suffered back-to-back defeats in June 2009 (by 7 wickets) and May 2010 (by 14 runs), and in March 2016 (by 7 wickets) and August 2016 (by 1 run). Both of these sets of losses occurred under MS Dhoni’s captaincy.
When India stumbled to a seven-year low against the West Indies due to Chahal’s non-bowling step, Hardik was criticized for his one-day series comment, which questioned his ability to carry forward India’s winning momentum in the T20 series as well. When asked about it after the final ODI, stand-in West Indies player Samuel Badree asked, “What does it mean if you fail to carry the winning momentum in bilateral T20 series and stand-ins against the West Indies?” To which the captain responded, “It’s okay. I like being unique.”
However, despite trailing 0-2 in the five-match series, Hardik took responsibility for India’s batting performance. He said, “To be honest, it wasn’t a good batting performance; we could have done better. 160+ or 170 would have been a good score.” The third T20 match will be held on Tuesday at the same venue.