In what was a competitive dead rubber, West Indies made India work harder for their win as they put up a commendable display with the bat and followed it up with a brave bowling effort. Chasing 182 for victory, India lost Rohit Sharma early but were cruising towards the target, courtesy Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan. West Indies pulled things back in the final few overs, forcing India to wait until the last ball to celebrate a series whitewash. Here is our report card from the final T20I of the series.
Under the pump after a lacklustre show in the series, Shikhar Dhawan made an about-face and took India to a series whitewash with a stunning 92 off 62 balls, studded with 10 fours and two maximums. The southpaw was in one of his murderous moods and despite losing his trusted partner Rohit Sharma early, Dhawan went about his business in nonchalant fashion. He fell in the second last ball of the final over with the scores level much to India’s dismay, but Manish Pandey completed the formalities.
West Indies might regret the fact that they let this dynamic batsman wait in the bench. Joining hands with a composed Darren Bravo, Pooran blew the Indian attack wide open with some attractive stroke play, including back-to-back sixes off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He made 53 off 25 balls that included an onslaught on Khaleel in the final over, which cost 23. With a reserve opener like Pooran waiting, it is bizarre that the visitors persisted with Shai Hope at the top of the order.
Having lost Rohit early, Dhawan needed some company to overcome a daunting total. Pant, walking in at No 4, seemed assured and played some breathtaking shots. He took his time settling down, making 18 off the first 17 balls before cutting loose to collect 40 off the next 21 deliveries. He was dismissed with the run-chase slightly tilted India’s way. After a poor outing in the ODIs, Pant needed a confidence-boosting knock and this proved to be exactly that, although he would have liked to finish it off himself.
Losing two quick wickets after a promising start, West Indies were in danger of going down a path similar to the first two games. Bravo, though, set it right by stepping up in an anchor role. He marshalled the spinners around and set the stage for Pooran to take on the bowlers. Bravo remained unbeaten as West Indies piled on a more than competitive total on board.
With strike bowlers, Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah, missing, the onus was on Chahal to pick up the wickets and make life difficult for the West Indies batsmen. He sent openers Hope and Shimron Hetmyer back off successive overs after the powerplay to break a promising stand, but went wicketless since as Pooran launched into the Indian attack. He leaked 24 off his final two overs to spoil what could have been an excellent day.
With five needed to win off the last over, Allen made India work hard in a brilliant over where he refused to let go without a fight. The left-arm spinner tied up a settled Dhawan, gave away no freebies and took the game to the final ball having dismissed the left-handed Indian opener a delivery before with the scores level. While India went on to win, Allen's incredible effort under pressure was a major takeaway for the visitors.
Pierre bowled two overs in the powerplay and wasn't used since, a queer move considering that Kieron Pollard, who used up three of his four overs, was pretty unsuccessful. Pierre's last ball beat KL Rahul comprehensively and he was the most economical of the visiting bowlers, yet found little favour from his skipper.
Paul had a see-saw day where his variations in the death earned rare praise. He dismissed Rohit to give the West Indies an early boost after a daunting total, but fell off as he conceded 14 in the 16th over. He, however, made a remarkable comeback, dismissing Pant in the penultimate over while conceding just three off it.
Khaleel once again was impressive as he maintained an impeccable line and length and used the late shape into the batsmen to cut down the scoring areas. Taking the new ball, Khaleel's first three overs cost just 14, another sign that he is the right man to play back-up to Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar. In his final over (and the final over of the innings), Khaleel was plundered for 23 to spoil his figures and ratings for the match.
True to his reputation as a powerplay bowler, Sundar sent down a five-run over opening the bowling alongside Khaleel, but messed up in his second over, primarily due to five runs he conceded off a wide. He made a commendable comeback, conceding three in his next and then cleaning up Ramdin off his last. The young off-spinner proved that India's T20I options are wide open.
Opening the innings yet again, Hope played second-fiddle to a rampant Hetmyer, who dealt in boundaries. Hope opened up more when Bhuvneshwar came into the attack and even scythed one from Krunal over the ropes, but fell soon after to Chahal, another instance of him throwing away a good start.
Hetmyer appeared to be in his element at Chennai as he got off to a fiery start, smashing four fours and a six in the powerplay overs. The opening partnership was starting to look threatening for the Indians after crossing the 50-run mark, but Chahal soon broke through to dismiss Hope. His extra bounce next over got rid of Hetmyer as the West Indies once again lost direction. Hetmyer, though, seems to be settling in at the top of the order.
Thomas had an off-day as left-handers Pant and Dhawan plundered him for runs in the middle overs. Generating extra pace from the surface, Thomas made run-scoring easier for the rampant duo and might want to work upon his variations now that the series is done and dusted. In him, Windies have a talented, yet raw diamond.
Ramdin had another unspectacular day as he ambled along to 15 at run-a-ball even as West Indies were looking to flourish after a solid opening stand. He was dropped by Krunal off his own bowling before Sundar had him chopping onto his stumps.
With Bumrah absent, Bhuvneshwar was expected to take on the mantle of leader of the attack but disappointingly went missing as Khaleel took charge early on. His last two overs cost 24 runs as West Indies batsmen took advantage of his full, yet unthreatening length and mediocre pace. Bhuvneshwar might want to show he can step up in Bumrah's absence before the World Cup.
Rahul had a brilliant opportunity to stamp his place down in the side after Rohit was dismissed early in the run-chase. After a couple of boundaries off Paul, one a very pleasing cover drive, Rahul seemed to be settling in but threw it away as he nicked an innocuous length ball from Thomas to the keeper.
Pandya had his first off-day in India colours as the West Indian batsmen used the extra pace on his delivery to slog through the line. He went for 13 and 16 in his first and last overs but sent down a decent couple of overs in the midst. Putting down a return catch offering from Ramdin further ruined his day.
Pollard wasn't required with the bat but surprisingly came on to bowl only to aid India in gunning down the total faster. The medium pacer was hardly threatening as Pant and Dhawan blasted him around the MA Chidambaram stadium. His three overs cost 29 and sunk West Indies further.
Rohit had a poor outing as he missed out on a slower delivery from Paul to drive straight to cover point with the Indian total on a mere 13. The Mumbaikar ended the series as the second highest run-scorer but would rue that he couldn't complete a series whitewash as skipper with a memorable batting performance.
Brathwaite's lacklustre captaincy aside, his listless bowling is costing the West Indies a lot and the same was on display at Chennai as he leaked 41 in his four overs. His ended the series with an economy of 9.0 and had a dreadful day as skipper misusing his better options with the ball and allowing India to get on top.
*Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey weren't rated owing to their minimal role in the match
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor