West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran conceded that his players were simply outclassed again, as India whipped them by 88 runs today in the last outing of their five match T20I series in Lauderhill, Florida.
India batted first and posted a total of 188/7, as opener Shreyas Iyer top-scored with 64 (off 40 deliveries, 8×4, 2×6). In reply, Shimron Hetmyer managed 56 (off 35 deliveries, 5×4, 4×6) but the second best score from the Maroon Men was just 13—by opener Shamarh Brooks—as they were bowled out for 100 off 15.4 overs.
India, who rested four players today including captain Rohit Sharma, won the T20I series 4-1 to go with a 3-0 One-Day International series triumph.
“We weren’t good enough,” said Pooran, after the final T20I contest. “India came out aggressive, but as batters we didn’t learn. As bowlers we are getting better, but we need to learn faster.
“It is a game of skills vs skills and today we weren’t good. We didn’t put partnerships together, except for Hetmyer.”
West Indies face New Zealand on Wednesday in the first of three T20I matches that coach Phil Simmons said will be crucial for the selectors, as they decide on their team to travel to Australia in October—in their final preparation for the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
Simmons praised Hetmyer’s showing today, as the Guyanese left-hander scored his quickest half century off just 28 runs.
“It seems that he is getting back to the Hetmyer we know,” said Simmons. “It is nice to see him coming back.”
But the West Indies coach was less complimentary about the rest of the team’s batting performance, particularly in the opening six overs. With openers Brandon King and Kyle Mayers rested, Pooran used lanky Jason Holder to start the innings.
Holder lasted just three balls before he was bowled by Axar Patel for duck while Brooks and Devon Thomas both joined him in the dressing room inside five overs, with West Indies at 33/3. Despite Hetmyer’s superb knock, the wickets never stopped falling at the other end.
“We need to be able to bat for the six overs and know how we are batting in that,” said Simmons. “[…] Once we stop losing wickets we are going to make big scores because we have all the players [to do it]. ‘Hetty’ showed he is back to form today. We have Rovman [Powell], we have Pooran, but nobody has been consistent throughout the series.
“What we need now is consistency [and] understanding the situation of the game and knowing how we play that.”
At the other end, stand-in India captain Hardik Panday said the visitors are “absolutely close” to being ready for the T20 World Cup and playing with freedom and confidence.
“[We’ve] just got to know how to keep getting better,” said Panday. “Pressure and environment-wise, we are ready but in this sport you never stop learning.”
West Indies have two T20 World Cup titles, which is at least one more than any other nation. But Simmons conceded that they are no longer the benchmark for excellent in that format.
“[India have] the best T20 team in the world, man for man,” said Simmons, “but I think we showed in glimpses that we are able to compete—sometimes with the bat, sometimes with the ball, but we never put everything together. I think that is the lesson we have to take from that.
“We have to put everything together on the day to beat the best teams.”
So far in T20I competition this year, West Indies defeated England 3-2 under Pooran’s predecessor, Kieron Pollard, before defeating Bangladesh 2-0 during the term of the current skipper.
However, they won just one of eight outings against India.
It’s crunch time now for the West Indies players, as Simmons looks towards the Australia T20 World Cup.
“We have three more matches (against New Zealand) and then after that we will sit down and make decisions as to who fits into the way we want to play,” said the West Indies coach. “I think the three matches will be important to a lot of the players.”
India 188/7 (20 overs) (Shreyas Iyer 64, Deepak Hooda 38; Odean Smith 3/33, Dominic Drakes 1/24)
West Indies 100 all out (15.4 overs) (Shimron Hetmyer 56, Shamarh Brooks 13; Ravi Bishnoi 4/16, Kuldeep Yadav 3/12, Axar Patel 3/15)
Result: India won by 88 runs
Series result: India won 4-1
Man of the Match: Axar Patel
Man of the Series: Arshdeep Singh