Brandon King’s superb unbeaten 85 led West Indies to an eight-wicket win over India on Sunday to secure a 3-2 victory in their T20 series.
Set a target of 166 to win the fifth and deciding contest, in Lauderhill, Florida, West Indies reached their target with two overs to spare with Nicholas Pooran scoring 47 in a partnership of 107 with King.
The win was a morale-booster for West Indies cricket after the one-day team failed, last month, to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in their history.
“Adjectives are inadequate for our feelings. It’s a big series. It’s a very big series for us to beat India at home with everything going on,” said West Indies captain Rovman Powell.
“After we got defeated badly (on Saturday) we sat down and talked. We are not just playing to put smiles on our faces but for the people,” he added.
King’s highest T20 international score came from 55 balls with six sixies and five fours and he kept his focus despite a delay to the game following a lightning warning.
Shai Hope, who steadied the ship after Pooran was removed by Tilak Varma, with the spinners second ever ball in international cricket, clinched the victory with a straight six off Yashasvi Jaiswal.
Suryakumar Yadav struck 61 as India made 165 for nine 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.
West Indies made two changes with off-spinner Roston Chase and pace bowler Alzarri Joseph coming in for Odean Smith and Obed McCoy and there was a better balance and performance from that line-up.
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 looked dangerous before he went for 27 off 18, caiught and bowled by Chase but Yadav’s innings kept India’s hopes alive.
Medium pacer Shepherd took care of the lower middle order as West Indies were set a target of 166 to win the series.
West Indies had led the series 2-0 before India fought back to set up Sunday’s clincher and captain Hardik Pandya said they had time to get things right before the T20 World Cup next June in the Caribbean and the United Stqates.
“It’s a long way. We have the ODI WC coming up and sometimes losing is good. You get to learn a lot,” Pandya said. “And special mention for all the boys. They showed great character. Winning and losing is a part of the process and we are going to make sure we learn from that,” he said.