India put up an average total of 152/7 on the board, with just four double-digit scores in the scorecard, led by Varma’s 41-ball 51, which is also his maiden international half-century.
Shubman Gill (7), Suryakumar Yadav (1) and Sanju Samson (7) didn’t do themselves any good, especially Suryakumar, who had been in poor form in the ODI series as well.
Opener Ishan Kishan’s 27 and skipper Hardik Pandya‘s 24 were the only other noteworthy contributions. All-rounder Axar Patel made 14.
India had scored just 145/9 in the first T20I.
Understandably, skipper Pandya wasn’t happy with the team’s performance with the bat.
“If I am being honest, that was not a pleasing batting performance. The wickets were falling and the track was on the slower side. We could have batted better. 160 plus or 170 would have been a good total,” said the captain at the post-match presentation.
“With the current combination we have, we will have to trust our top seven batters to come good and hope the bowlers win you games. We have to find ways to make sure we have the right balance, but at the same time, the batters need to take more responsibility,” he added.
The skipper reserved special praise for Varma.
“The way he has been batting, that is something we are looking at. A left-hander at No. 4 gives us a right-left combination throughout. The youngsters are coming with confidence and fearlessness.”
West Indies overhauled the target in 18.5 overs, thanks to big-hitting Nicholas Pooran’s 40-ball 67, and the win delighted the home team’s skipper, Rovman Powell.
“It’s a very good position to be in. Hopefully we can keep winning. We always knew it was going to come down to how we batted against spin. It shows cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties,” said Powell.
He hinted that their strategy was not to allow the Indian batters settle by changing bowlers frequently.
“I realised that whenever batters go at the bowlers, they don’t go at the first over. So I tried to eliminate that and gave my bowlers one-over spells, especially fast bowlers, because it is very hot,” Powell said.
The third T20I, which is now a must-win game for India, will be played on August 8.
(With agency inputs)