Lauderhill: India’s opening pair of Shubman Gill and Yashasvi Jaiswal made the mockery of a chase of 179 by acing it with immaculate ease and starred in thrashing West Indies by nine wickets in the fourth T20I at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium on Saturday.
After Shimron Hetmyer was breezy in his stroke play to slam a 39-ball 61 and take West Indies to a competitive 178/8 in 20 overs, Gill and Jaiswal absolutely bossed the chase to help India level the series 2-2, with Sunday’s game now a winner-takes-it-all decider.
Though Gill fell for 77 off 47 balls, laced with three fours and five sixes, Jaiswal went on to stay unbeaten on 84 off 51 balls, hitting 11 fours and five sixes, in just his second T20I game as India pulled off the highest successful men’s T20I chase at the venue.
Though the pitch looked to have slowed down during the chase, Gill and Jaiswal combined power and timing to hit sizzling shots and find boundaries easily against a listless West Indies bowling line-up in their mammoth 165-run opening stand.
The association of 165 runs between Gill and Jaiswal is also the joint-highest opening wicket partnership for India in men’s T20Is, tied with the pair of K.L. Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who had the same amount of runs in their opening stand against Sri Lanka in December 2017.
Jaiswal was on fire from the word go, pouncing on width from Obed McCoy for a boundary on the first ball and then hammered past mid-off to end the over with another four. He took the attack to Jason Holder in the third over by smacking three boundaries through the off-side.
Gill joined the party with his signature short-arm jab going for six off McCoy. Jaiswal continued to deal in fours, driving and scooping off Romario Shepherd. On the other hand, Gill smacked sixes down the ground and via a swivel-pull, before ending the power-play by driving Odean Smith through cover-point for four as India signed off with 66 for no loss.
India’s run rate continued to be healthy as Gill and Jaiswal dealt in boundaries off pacers and spinners, with the opening partnership reaching the century mark.
After recording three single-digit scores in the series, Gill got his fifty in 30 balls while Jaiswal reached his first half-century in T20Is in 33 balls by shuffling across and lapping over backward square leg for four.
The carnage didn’t end as Gill easily flicked Odean Smith for six while Jaiswal reverse-swept Akeal Hosein for a maximum. Jaiswal smacked Smith over cow corner for six before getting a thick edge off McCoy for four and hammering another maximum over long-on.
Gill again brought the short-arm jab to hit Shepherd for six, before miscuing a flick to deep mid-wicket, ending his knock. But it was too little, too late for West Indies as Jaiswal slashed for four more. Tilak Varma fetched four runs via flick before two wides ensured India completed the chase with three overs to spare.
Earlier, left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh took three wickets while Kuldeep Yadav claimed two scalps to keep West Indies below 180, though Hetmyer and an impressive Shai Hope, who made a 29-ball 45 stood tall for the hosts.
Kyle Mayers slammed Axar Patel for six over long-on and ended the over with a four swept past fine leg. After hitting a boundary of Arshdeep, Mayers fell when he was cramped for room by the left-arm pacer on the ramp and edged behind to the keeper.
Brandon King and Hope used their feet well to take 13 runs off Yuzvendra Chahal and collect 12 runs off Axar. But Arshdeep cut short King’s threatening knock in the final over of Power-play, as the batter nicked a wide delivery to the left of short fine leg.
After the power-play, Kuldeep struck in his first over with big scalps of Nicholas Pooran and Powell. While Pooran holed out to long-on, Powell’s attempt to flick through the on-side ended up in a leading edge flying to slip. Hope, playing in his first T20I game in a year and a half, continued to impress by dancing down the pitch to hit a four and six off Chahal.
From the other end, Hetmyer whipped Kuldeep for four, before pulling and slicing off Hardik Pandya for six and four respectively. Chahal ended Hope’s stay when the right-hander tried to hoick, but holed out to long-on. Axar returned to take out Shepherd, who went for a slog-sweep, but the top edge was caught by Samson.
Mukesh Kumar was rewarded for his accuracy by castling Jason Holder. But Hetmyer continued to tee-off, moving across to scoop Mukesh over short fine leg for six and then danced down the pitch to slam Kuldeep for a flat six over extra cover, to eventually reach his fifty in 35 balls.
Hetmyer then swiped Mukesh for four and hammered Arshdeep over mid-wicket for six, before a superb catch from Varma running forward at long-on ended his knock. Hosein and Smith hit a four and six off Arshdeep as 17 runs came off the final over.
West Indies 178/8 in 20 overs (Shimron Hetmyer 61, Shai Hope 45; Arshdeep Singh 3-38, Kuldeep Yadav 2-26) lost to India 179/1 in 17 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 84 not out, Shubman Gill 77; Romario Shepherd 1-35) by nine wickets