A cricket match couldn’t have been less eventful like the one in Eden Gardens to cap off a perfect series where India completed a phenomenal whitewash to return a dynamic West Indies empty-handed. For the visitors, it was a story of “so close yet so far” while for the hosts, the game was assorted into different chapters where every time there was a new protagonist, making the last rubber of the series nothing short of a nuanced story set across various splendid settings. If Suryakumar Yadav and Venkatesh Iyer wielded the willow emphatically to bail India out of a tardy ordeal, Harshal Patel spearheaded a stoked-up bowling unit to leave the visitors short of the target agonizingly.
West Indies won the toss and elected to field first with India making a tidal change in their pecking order that saw Rohit Sharma pushing himself down to accommodate Ruturaj Gaikwad. The returning Gaikwad opened his account with a classic strike but couldn’t hold on to the early momentum. After a couple of failed displays, Ishan Kishan finally managed to find his momentum even though his strike rate wasn’t as exorbitant as the audience is used to. He played a few fine strokes and was an instrumental part of the opening onslaught alongside Shreyas Iyer who showed no hesitation whatsoever in peppering the West Indian bowlers during his dynamic sojourn at the crease.
The fall of Kishan and Shreyas Iyer stemmed the run flow and India was strangled harder with every passing delivery. It needed a miracle to propel India past the 160s and the synergy of Venkatesh Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav did a couple of notches better. At the end of 15 overs, India was teetering along the edges of survival as the scorecard read 98 for the loss of 4 with Venky and Suryakumar Yadav in the middle. However, what followed in the remaining overs was nothing short of an onslaught from both the batters. A young Dominic Drakes has torn apart into shreds as Iyer and Yadav took turns in hammering him to the ropes.
The next man to fall victim to their carnage was Romario Shepherd as Iyer dispatched his signature stroke for a maximum. It started raining boundaries at Eden as Iyer and Surya emerged in their most destructive avatars as India sailed hammer and tongs to 184. In more of an anti-climactic finish as Ian Bishop would put it, Suryakumar Yadav finished his very special knock with a mistimed enterprise as Rovman Powell would grab a simple take to put an end to the Indian innings. Chasing 185 out of the blue, West Indies started the hunt for their maiden win in the series on a stuttering note as Deepak Chahar dealt them an early blow.
Even before they could rally themselves, Shai Hope departed to another peach from Chahar. However, the fall of Hope brought Rovman Powell to the middle who played another gem of a partnership with an untenable Nicholas Pooran. Powell’s hitting spree clattered onto a wall called Harshal who managed to produce the much-needed mishit and Shardul Thakur grabbed a fine take in an almost physics-defying maneuver to send the Caribbean biffer on a long walk to the pavilion.
The fall of Powell triggered a collapse for the Islanders as Pollard and Holder departed for cheap, thanks to some intelligent bowling from Venkatesh Iyer. Roston Chase tried to chip in with a decent cameo but Harshal Patel cleaned him up with a jaffa. India will be up against their continental neighbors next as Sri Lanka will be coming down for a three-match T20I series and a two-match Test affair that will be starting from 24th February.