Nicholas Pooran showed great relief after his team pulled out a close win in the second T20I, stating the win was welcome considering the recent string of negative results in the ongoing season. He went on to laud man-of-the-match Obed McCoy as well as star batters Brandon King and Devon Thomas.
Following a largely drab first match that tilted in the favour of the Indians for most of the game, the second T20I at Warner Park in St. Kitts provided a riveting encounter to take the series level. This was West Indies' first victory on home soil over India since way back in 2019, having also been clean swept 3-0 on their subcontinent tour earlier this year. However, the victory almost did not come to fruition despite a brilliant bowling display due to a scuffed-up batting performance from the middle order. The hosts took the game all the way to the 20th over despite chasing a low total of 139 but finally managed to get the job done with five wickets and four balls to spare.
"I can finally breathe now. It has been a tough summer for us. We lost a few close games and nearly made a mess of this as well," skipper Nicholas Pooran was quoted saying by Cricbuzz at the post-match press conference.
The win was largely driven by Obed McCoy's performance for the ages as he bowled his way into the record books. The left-arm pacer became the first bowler from the Caribbean to record a six-wicket haul in T20Is, as well as the first bowler to take a five-wicket haul against India in the format. His returns of 4-1-17-6 included the wicket of opposition captain Rohit Sharma on the very first ball of the innings as well as the crucial scalp of Dinesh Karthik for just 7 after the wicket-keeper batsman had won the first match for the Men in Blue.
"Obed was fantastic and all the guys just used the pitch and the conditions well. Obed is a bit of a freak and today he was just fantastic. He just kept picking up wickets for us. He said he would bowl full and straight on the stumps to Dinesh Karthik and it worked. Lovely to have him in the team and have that left-arm action for us," Pooran praised the 25-year-old.
In the batting department, opener Brandon King was the anchor through the first 15 overs after veterans Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer fell cheaply. He played a brilliant knock of 68 off 52 deliveries but his wicket put the hosts into deep trouble as the new batters on the crease were under severe pressure to finish off the game. Nevertheless, hard-hitter Devon Thomas stepped up to the plate with an all-important 31 taking just 19 balls. With 10 runs needed off the final over, Thomas rang the death toll for India with a six and a four, earning great plaudits from the captain.
"A win is a win. I believe in T20, better batsmen have to bat long. Myself, Hetmyer can take more responsibility. King should have won the game for us with the way he was batting. But hopefully he will learn from this. Thomas returned back for us after injury and came out trumps on his home ground," Pooran concluded.