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Stunning batting display eases India past West Indies

Ind v WI, 3rd T20I, report

Half centuries from Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli allowed India to stroll to victory by 67 runs in the third T20I against West Indies, and take the series 2-1 on Wednesday, 11 December.

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Windies skipper Kieron Pollard opted to bat, perhaps swayed by both prior matches having been won by the side batting second. But after a quiet opening over from Sheldon Cottrell, openers Rohit and Rahul launched their assault. By the end of the Powerplay they had taken the score to 72/0 and were in complete control of the game.

The brutal hitting continued, with no bowler escaping the onslaught, until the 12th over. The over did not begin well for the visitors, as opening batsman Evin Lewis went down having appeared to get his foot stuck in the turf. He was stretchered off and played no further part in the game, with the full extent of the injury yet to be confirmed. But Kesrick Williams ensured his side had something to cheer about when he had Rohit caught on the rope for a 34-ball 71 as he looked to add to his five sixes.

Rishabh Pant followed in the next over, caught in the deep for a second-ball duck off Pollard, bringing Kohli to the crease. The respite held for another over before the assault resumed, as 22 runs were plundered from Jason Holder's final over, to leave him with figures of 0/54. Williams again put the brakes on, conceding only three runs from his third over, but when Pollard returned to bowl the penultimate over India pushed their score well beyond par, picking him for 27 runs.

Cottrell managed to dismiss Rahul for 91 in the final over with a sharp bouncer, but Kohli smashed the final ball of the innings for six to take the total to 240/3, the highest score in T20Is at the Wankhede Stadium. The Indian skipper finished on a 29-ball 70, including seven sixes.

The West Indian reply got off to a bad start as Brandon King, Lendl Simmons, and Nicholas Pooran were dismissed in consecutive overs to leave the score 19/3 after four. Shimron Hetmyer launched a counterattack, hitting Mohammed Shami (2/24) over the rope two balls in a row. Pollard then joined in, hitting a six of his own off Bhuvneshwar Kumar before the pair picked two boundaries each from Shivam Dube's first over to take them to 60/3 after seven overs.

Kuldeep Yadav's second over brought the much-needed wicket of Hetmyer (41), who failed to fully connect with a full toss and found Rahul at long-on, but not before he had struck another pair of sixes. Pollard carried on, but as the required rate rose towards 20, Jason Holder departed, becoming Kuldeep's second victim. Pollard himself was then caught on the fence off Bhuvneshwar for a career-best 68.

Deepak Chahar was the pick among the Indian bowlers, returning 2/20 from his four, as West Indies finished on 173/8.

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