Team India maintained their invincible run in the shortest format under coach Rahul Dravid as the Men in Blue comfortably dispatched the West Indies 4-1 in the five-match T20 series. Despite missing key players such as KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah, the tourists thrashed the Men in Maroon to come away with their sixth victory in their last seven T20I series – India drew 2-2 with South Africa in June 2022.
The five T20Is in the Caribbean and Florida gave the Indian cricket team some precious preparation ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Australia.
After a disappointing IPL and tour to England, Rohit Sharma was back to his best in the shortest format against the West Indies as the Indian skipper scored his first T20 half-century in 2022 in the opening encounter in Trinidad. Sharma was the poster boy for India’s new attacking approach in this series, with the opener scoring 108 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 163, the second highest amongst all batters after Suryakumar Yadav.
Suryakumar Yadav received a rare promotion up the order to open the innings against the West Indies and made the most of his opportunity, finishing as the highest-run scorer in the series. Yadav amassed 135 runs in four matches at a strike rate of 168 – including a dazzling 44-ball 76 in the third T20I – and the opener ensured that India got off to a strong start in the powerplay in each innings.
Shreyas Iyer’s marks are marginally bumped up to a five due to his performance in the fifth and final T20I in Florida, where he scored a half-century after opening the innings alongside Ishan Kishan. However, in the first three T20Is, Iyer disappointed with the bat in hand. The KKR captain’s short ball worries came to the fore once again on pitches with a little more bounce, and Iyer finished the series with a strike rate of just 119.
After a disappointing run in T20I cricket for India, Rishabh Pant produced a much better showing against the West Indies in his middle-order role. Although a big score continues to elude the lavish left-hander, Pant finished the series with 115 runs in four innings at a healthy strike rate of 141 and played pivotal knocks in the 3rd and 4th T20Is to take India over the line.
For his lofty standards, Hardik Pandya had a series to forget with the bat. The all-rounder managed just 64 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 114. With the ball, though, Pandya proved he can be the perfect sixth bowling option, finishing with an economy of 6.0 in 12 overs and clocking impressive speeds up to 140kph.
It was not the best of the series with the bat in hand for Dinesh Karthik, who scored just 66 runs in four innings for the team across the series. Karthik did win India the opening T20I with his spectacular cameo off 41* from 19 balls. However, the wicketkeeper failed to replicate that performance in the remaining matches, finishing with a strike rate of 132 for the series.
Arshdeep Singh continued to impress at the highest level for the Indian cricket team, winning the player of the series award against the West Indies. Singh finished with the best economy rate amongst all pacers across both sides in the series, conceding just 6.5 runs an over to go along with his seven scalps. The left-armer excelled across all three phases of the innings against Nicholas Pooran’s side, and following Harshal Patel’s injury, Singh has put himself in contention for a starting berth in the Indian World Cup squad.
Although Bishnoi received plenty of assistance from the surfaces and bowled most of his overs when the opposition were chasing the game, the leg-spinner was magnificent. Bishnoi finished as India’s highest-wicket taker in the series despite playing just three games, picking up 8 scalps in 10.4 overs and bamboozling most West Indian batters with his speed and googlies.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar did everything that was asked of him in the series with the ball, with the veteran pacer picking up important wickets and keeping things tight in the powerplay, conceding just 7.18 runs an over.
It was a miserable series with the ball for Avesh Khan, who finished with a team-high economy rate of 10.14 in four matches at an average of 38. Khan bowled the decisive no-ball in the final over of the second T20I to give the West Indies their only victory of the tour before conceding 47 runs in just three overs in the next encounter at Warner Park. To his credit, the pacer made a commendable comeback in Lauderhill, Florida, as he set up the Indian win with a spell of two for 17 that rattled the West Indies top order.
[Featured Image Credit: Indian Cricket Team]