The losses ensured India won the three match T20 series, with the final game scheduled for the Caribbean.
Forecasts of rain threatened to dampen prospects of top level international cricket in South Florida. But the sizable crowds on both days, dominated by supporters of India, were treated to mostly sunshine, heat and attractive cricket. They soaked it up, cheering, waving flags and igniting the occasional Mexican wave.
The festive atmosphere inspired India to draw first blood, winning the opening match by four wickets. West Indies was restricted to 95 runs for nine wickets in 20 overs. Only Kieron Powell’s 49, with two fours and four sixes off 49 balls, and Nicholas Pooran 20 off 16 balls offered resistance.
India then survived its own hiccups before scrambling to victory, scoring 98 for six off 17.2 overs. Rohit Sharma top scored with 24, while Sheldon Cotterell, Oshane Thomas and Keemo Paul each picked up two wickets for the West Indies.
It was, admittedly, a substandard performance but the West Indies, especially the batsmen.
“It was not a true pitch,” captain Carlos Brathwaite said post-game, acknowledging the moist strip West Indies batsmen confronted, but blaming poor shot selection by his team.
“… I don’t want to sit here and make excuses. The team knows it was not good enough.”
It wasn’t that much better the following day, when the pitch was more generous to the batsmen. India again won the toss, but this time chose to take first strike, piling up 167 for five off 20 overs. Sharma made 67, again his team’s top scorer. Thomas and Cotterell each took two wickets.
In reply, West Indies reached 98 for four in 15.3 overs before a lightning warning, and later rain, ended the contest. India was declared winner on a better run scoring rate, its two day victory haul seemingly a fair result for being the better team.
“Maybe,” said Rovman Powell, who top scored for the West Indies in game two with 54. “We’re still working on finding the right combinations.”
The West Indies will have the rest of India’s tour of the Caribbean, which also includes one day internationals and Test matches,to get it right.