Surya special gets India's series back on track | Crickit
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Surya special gets India's series back on track

Aug 08, 2023 11:44 PM IST

Suryakumar Yadav smashed 83 off 44 balls as the visitors beat West Indies by seven wickets in the third T20I

Suryakumar Yadav treated fans at the Providence Stadium in Guyana to a special knock as India beat West Indies by seven wickets in the third T20 International on Tuesday to stay alive in the five-match series.

Suryakumar found gaps with ease, hitting 10 fours and four sixes in his innings.(AP)
Suryakumar found gaps with ease, hitting 10 fours and four sixes in his innings.(AP)

Set a tricky target of 160 runs on a sluggish pitch, India cruised home thanks to a breathtaking 44-ball 83 from Suryakumar. The visitors finished with 164/3 in 17.5 overs, with young Tilak Varma being the other key contributor in the batting order.

India’s chase got off to an action-packed start as they picked up 16 runs in the first over but lost a wicket too. While Shubman Gill cut his first delivery for four, Yashasvi Jaiswal ended up having a forgettable debut as he miscued a slog and found the fielder. Suryakumar, though, came to the crease full of confidence and began his innings with a four and six.

Gill, having scored just 181 runs in eight innings across formats on the tour, needed to spend time in the middle but he was dismissed cheaply again. He let out a roar in disappointment as soon as the ball hit the top edge of his bat and made its way towards the fielder. Alzarri Joseph had picked up an important wicket and India were in a serious spot of bother at 34/2 in 4.2 overs.

However, it turned out to be a Suryakumar show from there on. Like Gill, he was another big name in the Indian batting lineup who was yet to fire in the series, but the right-hander was at his best this time and played a typically sparkling knock with boundaries to all corners of the park.

Suryakumar found gaps with ease, hitting 10 fours and four sixes in his innings. There was grip and turn in the pitch and steady rainfall as well, but he kept manipulating the field to find boundaries and bat West Indies out of the contest. He seemed set to get his fourth T20I century but Joseph dismissed him in the 13th over. By then, though, India were firmly in the driver’s seat.

Varma, who had impressed in the first two games of the series, showed maturity and went on to remain unbeaten on 49 off 37, with Pandya not out on 20 off 15.

Earlier, for the third time in the series, the team that won the toss opted to bat first. Windies skipper Rovman Powell reckoned the pitch looked a bit slow and it was better to have runs on the board. India made two changes to their playing XI, with Jaiswal and Kuldeep Yadav replacing Ishan Kishan and Ravi Bishnoi.

It was a testing start with the ball for India as Brandon King and Kyle Mayers gave the hosts a 55-run opening partnership. The visitors had used five of their six bowlers by the end of the seventh over, with spinners Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav beginning their respective spells by conceding boundaries.

At 50/0 after seven overs, West Indies had laid the platform to build a formidable total. But India fought back as Kuldeep bowled a quality spell.

The left-arm wrist spinner was in form in the ODIs as well and picked seven wickets across the three games. He was the most economical Indian bowler in the T20I series opener before he missed the second game due to a hand injury sustained in the nets. In the third T20I on Tuesday, Kuldeep made his presence felt once again by dismissing three of the top four batters in West Indies’ lineup, including Nicholas Pooran who had smashed a match-winning 40-ball 67 in the last game.

Once Axar got rid of Mayers in the eighth over, Kuldeep trapped Johnson Charles in front before winning a brief but exciting battle with Pooran. The hard-hitting left-hander hit Kuldeep for a huge six straight over and followed that up with an audacious reverse sweep for four. But the spinner showed great skill and courage by tossing the ball up again to get Pooran stumped in his next over.

Pandya, rather surprisingly, introduced Mukesh Kumar in the attack only in the 18th over and the right-arm pacer dismissed the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer with his first delivery. But Powell hit Arshdeep Singh for two sixes in the penultimate over to give his team a much-needed push.

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