March 30, 2023

KOLKATA: If India winning the series against West Indies remained the main point of focus, how Virat Kohli would fare was the sub-plot of the second T20I match at the Eden Gardens here on Friday. The handful of spectators allowed at the venue went home happy as India sealed the three-match series, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead, and Kohli too showed glimpses of his vintage form to hit his 30th T20I half-century.
West Indies, however, did put up a much-improved show and at one time looked like taking the match away. Nicholas Pooran, who played a lone hand in the last match on Wednesday, got an able partner in Rovman Powell as the duo stitched together a 60-ball 100-run third-wicket stand to put India under pressure.

But experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a tight 19th over, giving away just four runs, to make things difficult for them. The visitors finally fell eight runs short, ending up with 178 for three.

Earlier, Kohli laid the platform for Rishabh Pant and Venkatesh Iyer to finish off with 185 for six after Kieron Pollard, playing his 100th T20I match, sent India in on winning the toss.

Coming in after India lost opener Ishan Kishan early on, Kohli looked like a man on a mission as he started reigning in boundaries right from the word go. He opened up with two fours off left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein.

West Indies were brought back into the match for a while by off-spinner Roston Chase, who picked up Rohit Sharma and Surya kumar Yadav in his consecutive overs coming into the attack in the eighth over of the innings.

Kohli greeted Odean Smith with a four, using the pace of the ball to guide it down to the third man fence. He hit his first six to reach his 50, lifting Chase over long-on, where a jumping Holder could not hold on in spite of getting a hand onto it. But Chase got his man in the same over with one that turned and went through the gate as Kohli tried to play it on the legside. The former skipper departed for a well-made 41-ball 52.
However, Pant and Iyer did not allow the tempo to fall and finished off in a flurry, getting 76 runs in 5.5 overs. While Pant hit seven fours and one six to remain undefeated on 52 off 28 deliveries, Iyer got a quickfire 18-ball 33.

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