HYDERABAD, India – West Indies hopes of victory in their opening Twenty20 International against India on Friday, were dashed by a breath-taking Virat Kohli masterclass.
The Caribbean side conceded 112 off 46 balls, when Kohli came to his side’s rescue with a career-best, unbeaten 94, as the Indians won by six wickets with eight balls remaining to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
West Indies had set the hosts an imposing 208 for victory at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium and India found themselves off the pace on 96 for one after 11 overs, with the required run rate climbing to nearly 12-1/2 an over.
But the visitors were put on the back-foot, when Kohli transformed his side’s fortunes with a 50-ball innings that included six fours and six sixes.
All of the West Indies bowlers, except Sheldon Cottrell leaked runs at more than six runs an over and opener K.L. Rahul helped propel India to the finish line, smashing 62 from 40 balls and laying the foundation for India’s highest successful run chase in T20Is.
West Indies were in the contest thanks to a maiden T20I half-century from Shimron Hetmyer that was the rock upon which they piled up 207 for five off their 20 overs – their fifth highest total in the format and highest in nearly 3-1/2 years.
The left-hander blasted 56 from 41 balls, opener Evin Lewis stroked 40, captain Kieron Pollard struck 37 and Brandon King, an unbeaten 31.
They were in danger of stalling and falling short of the 200-run mark before Jason Holder lashed a nine-ball 24 not out to help them gather 63 from the last five overs.
For West Indies, the defeat was the 18th in their last 22 T20Is inside the last two years, and their seventh straight loss to India.