West Indies allrounder Rovman Powell believes his side was well-placed with "sufficient" wickets in hand to make a powerful launch in the last four overs to overhaul the target of 168 against India in the second T20I. Instead, a lightning alarm forced an initial delay at the 15.3-over mark with West Indies needing 70 to win before torrential thunderstorms officially ended proceedings with India declared winners by 22 runs via the DLS method.
"I think the wicket was a little bit better," Powell said after Sunday's defeat while assessing West Indies' batting performance compared to a day earlier when they struggled to 95 for 9 after being sent in. "It came onto the bat a little more. It didn't spin as much or it wasn't as slow as yesterday. As a team, I just thought we were an over behind. If the game had finished, we probably would have won or come very close.
"I think we had sufficient wickets in hand. We had Kieron Pollard and [Shimron] Hetmyer at the crease, and Carlos Brathwaite and Keemo Paul to come in. I think those are guys that could have brought it to them. I guess in the end India are runaway winners but we don't look at it and say we were far behind."
But rather than a possible finishing kick that was stymied by rain, a bigger issue was a poor start to their innings for the second day in a row as West Indies once again found themselves at 8 for 2. West Indies captain Brathwaite had said a day earlier that Sunil Narine was kept down the order in the first T20I so as not to expose him to offspinner Washington Sundar turning the ball away from him. Yet, Narine was sent in less than 24 hours later to open for the first time in a T20I for West Indies.
Despite Narine's well-documented success as an opener in T20 leagues, the strategy failed for West Indies as Washington didn't concede a run off the bat in his first two overs bowling to the left-handed Narine - who opened after John Campbell was left out of the XI - and Nicholas Pooran. Narine racked up nine dot balls against Washington with the sequence ultimately ending in a failed charge that saw the batsman bowled for 4.
"Sunil, around the world, has opened for different franchises," Powell said. "We decided as a team that we were going to use that option today but unfortunately it just didn't come off."
In contrast, Powell found success, top-scoring for West Indies with 54 off 34 balls at a venue that he is familiar with. Playing for Jamaica Tallawahs, he has made five appearances at the Central Broward Regional Park in the last two CPL seasons. That helped.
"I'm comfortable with the ground," Powell said. "It has been my home ground for maybe the last year or two with regards to the CPL. So I've played a lot of cricket here. I think it has got very good facilities and I feel at home whenever I come here."
Powell said that although India had already clinched the three-match series, he didn't feel the results were particularly lopsided. Instead, he thought West Indies were not far off from turning the results around on Tuesday in the final T20I in Guyana to help give the hosts a momentum boost heading into the ODI series.
"I wouldn't know what changes will be made [for the third T20I] over maybe a two-day period," Powell said. "But what we will say is that the team that is heading to Guyana, we're looking to put our best foot forward. We think this Indian team is beatable and it's just for us to string together good performances to show people that."