WINDIES slumps to another series defeat

Mon, Aug 5, '19



Back-to-back defeats in Florida, by 4 wickets and 22 runs respectively, sees the West Indies surrendering their three-match T20I series to India, ahead of the final game in Guyana on Tuesday. While, the men in maroon did well to restrict the visitors to 167-5, the Indians would have been the more satisfied team at the halfway stage of the game, on the back of that expensive (20-run) final over from Keemo Paul. Still, following a 67-run opening stand (before Paul sent Shikhar Dhawan’s stumps flying) and getting up to 98 in the 12th over, Kohli’s men would have been eyeing the 200-mark. However, second-spell adjustments from both Thomas and Cottrell meant that the West Indies would be chasing a respectable, but gettable, target of 168.

When, senior batsman, Evin Lewis and promoted opener-Sunil Narine were dismissed within 9 deliveries of each other, the question marks surrounding the thinking behind removing yet another batsman, from a team already a batsman short, began to illuminate. However, a 76-run partnership—in which Rovman Powell shepherded Nicholas Pooran, on a day when the Trinidadian struggled to find the balance in his batting—steadied the Caribbean ship. With the run rate’s exponential increase (12.14), grew the pressure and Pooran was soon on his way—holing out to long-on for a 34-ball 19, with Powell following soon after for 54 (34).

The teams were ushered off the field at the threat of lightning when the West Indies were 98-4 and 22 runs behind on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, an interval in which the rain seized its opportunity. Without the possibility of any further play, India were eventually declared 22-run winners on the DLS method.

With the series to be concluded in the Caribbean, Providence might just be the perfect place for Shimron Hetmyer to regain some form, heading into the One-Day International series. The West Indies might say that tactics are behind the 22-year-old’s position in the batting order, but his demotion is as clear a reflection of the Guyanese’s decision-making as could have been. And I’d like to know if this young man who has made centuries in ODIs batting at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 for the West Indies, is comfortable being labelled or turned into (solely) a big-hitter. To move away from the possibility of challenging Shai Hope for the No. 3 spot, to being played as a slogger, at No. 6, in just nine months; what a fall from grace.

Shimron Hetmyer needs a wake-up call and if the West Indies opting for Rovman Powell ahead of him at 8 for 2 is not alarm enough, then what is?