India plunge to historic low after West Indies T20 series defeat

Hosts win series 3-2 after comfortable eight-wicket victory in Florida on Sunday

India captain Hardik Pandya, centre, congratulates West Indies players after their win in the T20 series. AFP
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India's tour of the Caribbean concluded in disastrous fashion as they were brushed aside by a resurgent West Indies team in Florida on Sunday.

Opener Brandon King hit an unbeaten 85 as the Windies cruised to an eight-wicket win to secure a 3-2 victory in their T20 series.

Set a target of 166 to win the fifth and deciding contest in Lauderhill, West Indies reached their target with two overs to spare as Nicholas Pooran scored 47 in a partnership of 107 with King.

It was India's first bilateral series defeat to the West Indies in 17 years and also the first instance of India losing three matches in a T20 series. It also snapped their two-year unbeaten run in T20 series.

The Indians were missing several key players, either through rotation or injury, but the other members of the team – many of them T20 regulars – failed to overcome a clinical West Indies side.

Suryakumar Yadav struck 61 as India made 165-9 while Romario Shepherd took 4-31 in his four overs as West Indies' bowling attack delivered a much better performance than in their emphatic defeat on Saturday which left the five-match series at 2-2.

Opening pair Jaiswal and Shubman Gill, who put on a match-winning 165 run partnership on Saturday, were both dismissed cheaply by left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein.

Tilak Varma - the standout performer for India during the T20s along with Yadav - looked dangerous before he went for 27 off 18, but Yadav's innings kept India's hopes alive.

In the chase, King posted his highest T20 international score off 55 balls with six sixes and five fours.

Shai Hope steadied the ship after Pooran was removed by Varma, with the spinners second ever ball in international cricket.

After the defeat, India coach Rahul Dravid said the team will only learn from the mistakes. The Indian team had won the preceding ODI series 2-1 despite struggling in the opening two games with the bat.

"Our one-day team is really different to the squad that we had here. But yeah, it [player unavailability] didn't allow us the flexibility to change the combinations a little bit," Dravid said.

"But going forward, we've got to look at certain areas in which we can get better. Finding depth in our batting has been an area we're trying to address.

"As these games go on, scores are becoming bigger ... the West Indies had Alzarri Joseph coming in at number 11 and he can hit a mean ball. You have sides that have depth. We've got some challenges on that front."

Dravid said India showed courage to level the series after a poor start but their batsmen could have done better throughout.

"But that can happen. It's a young team, a developing team so there are going to be times when we have our ups and downs," he added. "Of course we're disappointed. To be able to win from 0-2 down would have been special."

Updated: August 14, 2023, 5:13 AM