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Cricket news - Simmons powers West Indies to series-levelling win

Simmons scored a match-winning 67* off 45 balls

Simmons scored a match-winning 67* off 45 balls

Since burying India's T20 WC fortunes at the Wankhede Stadium three years ago, Lendl Simmons had gone 12 T20I innings without a 50-plus score. He put that worrying statistic to rest with a match-defining unbeaten 67 as West Indies coasted to a thumping series-levelling victory in Trivandrum. Led by Simmons's effort, West Indies completed a 170-chase with eight wickets and nine balls to spare.

A familiar script to Mumbai 2016?

It was a considerably different pitch to the one used for that T20 WC semifinal three years ago but there were some eerie similarities. While the pitch was two paced when India batted first, dew became a significant factor through the second innings, forcing bowlers to change plans. So while India were forced to scrap for their runs, particularly at the death, West Indies comfortably out-sixed them 12 to 5, exposing India's deficiencies in a T20 target defence.

Then of course, there was the case of India's fielding lapses.

Match-defining fielding lapses?

Most certainly. Remember how Simmons cashed in on those lapses in Mumbai? He was on 6 off 10 today when Bhuvneshwar Kumar outfoxed him with a knuckle ball. Unfortunately for him and India, Washinton Sundar put down a straight forward chance at mid-off. That wasn't all for India with respect to lapses. A couple of balls later Rishabh Pant put down Lewis. The two dropped chances allowed the West Indies openers to polish off 73 runs of the target. Virat Kohli would later take a blinder at long-on to dismiss Shimron Hetmyer but with the sight of Ravindra Jadeja misfielding at backward point summed up India's day in the field.

How good was Simmons?

Excellent. He's had a couple of fine CPL seasons, and what stands out with his batting is how he chooses bowlers and moments to step it up. With the ball spinning, he chose to avoid going across the line. He hit Sundar straight down the ground into the sightscreen and showed off his wristwork to hit Chahal over mid-wicket for another six. It helped that batsmen playing at the other end - Lewis, Hetmyer and Pooran - kept the big hits coming and that meant Simmons never had to go chasing for runs.

Did India miss a trick with the ball?

Not really but the dew affected how they bowled quite a bit. When they batted, West Indies were excellent with their usage of the cutters and slower deliveries that stuck to the pitch and made run-scoring difficult, so much so that from being 150 at 17 overs, they could only add 20 more runs. India were hamstrung with the dew and that meant both Chahar and Bhuvneshwar had to go looking for the knuckle ball for their variation.

Any positives for India?

Shivam Dube received an unlikely promotion in the order when he walked in at No.3 after KL Rahul was dismissed soon after India were put in to bat. The idea was to counter the two left-armers - Cottrell and Pierrre - bowling in tandem. The left-hander struggled to come to terms with the pace of the wicket but broke throught in a Kieron Pollard over, smashing the West Indies pacer for three sixes. Anything angled at him was pulled away over cow corner. Dube also showed he was adept at using the long handle to club balls over extra cover. He scored a 27-ball half-century and finished with 54 from 30, giving an extended glimpse of his prowess.

Anything else?

Oh yes. There was a small moment of Keserick Williams getting a payback on Kohli. The seamer, along with Hayden Walsh Junior, were the best bowlers on the day and he was duly rewarded with the wicket of the Indian captain, who was outfoxed by a cutter and got a leading edge to short third-man. There was however no signing off on the notebook. Williams brought out a finger-on-the-lips gesture. Besides the series, there will be some one-upmanship on the line in that Wankhede decider.

Brief scores: India 170/7 in 20 overs (Shivam Dube 54, Rishabh Pant 33*; Hayden Walsh Jr 2-28, Keserick Williams 2-30) lost to West Indies 173/2 in 18.3 overs (Lendl Simmons 67*, Evin Lewis 40; Washington Sundar 1-26) by 8 wickets.

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