With a five-match series there for the taking, West Indies prevailed in the final T20I on Sunday by eight wickets. With India having set a target of 166 for the Windies in Lauderhill, Florida, Brandon King (85*) would wrap up the game with a six and 12 balls to spare.
This was a first series loss for India since July 2021, when they lost the three-match series in Sri Lanka. Skipper Hardik Pandya, who has lead the side since the T20 World Cup last year and lost his first series as captain, stated post-match, “Losing is good sometimes. It teaches you a lot of things.”
Mulling over the defeat in the fifth T20I and the series, Pandya added, “If you see, we lost that period post ten overs. Since when I came, I wasn’t able to capitalize and I took my time and could not finish. (On decision to bat first) I believe that as a group we have to challenge ourselves. All these games are the games where we have to learn. We have spoken as a group that whenever we can take the hard way we will. In hindsight, one series here or there doesn’t matter but the commitment to the goal is important.”
When asked of the T20 World Cup next year in the Caribbean and USA, Pandya added, “It’s a long way. We have the ODI World Cup coming up. You get to learn a lot. 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.”
While the West Indies had introduced spin into attack from the get go as Akeal Hosein bowled three overs on a trot in the powerplay, India would only introduce Kuldeep Yadav after the fourth over with 44 runs already on the scoreboard. Axar Patel was introduced as late as the 15th over.
“It is what I feel at the moment, I don’t plan much. If I see a situation, whatever my gut says I follow,” Pandya would say of his changes.
The Indian skipper would also commend the likes of Tilak Varma, Mukesh Kumar and Yashasvi Jaiswal, who made their debuts for India in the ongoing series.
“They’ve got heart. That is something that’s very important in international cricket. Every youngster coming through has belief. That’s something I see very often now. Kudos to them, they came out and took responsibility. I can’t be happier as a captain,” Pandya concluded.