India's dashing openers, wily spinners prove 'two' good for West Indies

S Sudarshanan
New Update
Bowlers' day out in Surat as India go 1-0 up against South Africa

Deepti Sharma celebrates the fall of a wicket. © Getty Images

Deepti Sharma's four-wicket haul and yet another dominating opening stand between Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana, headlined by the former's second consecutive half century, helped India beat West Indies by ten wickets in the second T20I at the Darren Sammy National Stadium in St. Lucia. It was the last game at the venue before the teams move to Guyana for the final three T20Is.

“We’re going to allow our batters to play freely,” claimed Anisa Mohammed at the toss, after choosing to bat. But the start they had was far from ideal.

In what was a different opening combination for West Indies, Hayley Matthews and Stacy-Ann King began cautiously. But as in the first match, Shikha Pandey provided the initial breakthrough, this time getting rid of the latter for seven.

Soon, Radha Yadav’s struck in her first over, the penultimate one of the power play, when vice-captain Shemaine Campbelle lunged a bit more than she should have to get out stumped for a four-ball duck. Matthews and Chedean Nation then got into rebuilding mode.

West Indies had crawled to a slow 38 runs in the first 10 overs. It seemed as if the duo was setting themselves for the burst in the latter half. That, though, never came.

Matthews was the first to go, holing out to long on, trying to take on Pooja Vastrakar. She walked back for 23 off 35 balls, which then brought Natasha McLean to the middle. After a nightmare last evening, McLean showed intent from the word go, hitting Radha for a maximum.

Alongside Nation, she added 32, raising the home side’s hopes of a competitive total. But Sharma had other plans. She first got Nation caught behind for 32 and a couple of balls later, McLean was caught at long off for 17.

In the final over of the innings, Sharma picked up a couple more, including two-in-two, to finish with a figures of 4 for 10 - her career-best in T20Is.

In riposte, Verma, who scored her first T20I fifty on Saturday (November 9), carried on from where she left. She teed off in the very first over, hitting four fours off Chinelle Henry. She played as if she owned the venue and knew it like the back of her hand. Mandhana was content to give the strike back to the youngster as soon as possible.

Soon, Verma got to her second T20I half century off just 26 balls - India's third fastest in the format. The way she got there was testimony to her audacity – she walked across the stumps to Matthews, much before she delivered the ball. Upon getting a shortish delivery, she pulled it over deep backward square leg for half a dozen.

The duo then brought up their second successive hundred-run partnership. Madhana had, all along, essayed the perfect supporting role and hit the winning runs, remaining unbeaten on 30. Verma stayed unconquered on 69 off 35 balls as India took a 2-0 lead.

Brief Scores: West Indies 103/7 in 20 overs (Chedean Nation 32, Hayley Matthews 23; Deepti Sharma 4/10) lost to India 104/0 in 10.3 overs (Shafali Verma 69*, Smriti Mandhana 30*) by ten wickets. PoM: Deepti Sharma.