FLORIDA: Following India's 88-run win over West Indies in the fifth T20I, stand-in captain Hardik Pandya said that he will be more than happy to lead the country if given a chance to do so.
A half-century from Shreyas Iyer and a dominant show by Indian spinners helped Men in Blue secure an 88-run win over West Indies in the fifth and final T20I of the series at Florida on Sunday.
"It is a very special feeling to get a chance to lead your country. Obviously then, winning the game means a lot to me. Captain Ro (Rohit Sharma) did everything well before this game, so I just ensured that we kept doing the good work. (On captaincy) Why not? If given a chance, I will be more than happy to do it. But for now, we have a World Cup coming, it is about getting better as a team. The kind of talent the players we have and the freedom we are getting, this is the New India. I can see players playing with freedom and not worrying about failing. And when you do that, you tend to do special things," said Pandya during a post-match presentation.
"I wanted to give Axar the ball early because he is used to bowling in the powerplay, he is capable of holding his own and then with the wrist spinners, I knew we could get the wickets. It's about how we can get better from here. Preparation-wise we are ready for the World Cup but in this sport, you never stop learning. So it's about learning with each game," he added.
With this win, India has secured the series 4-1. India posted a total of 188/7 in their first innings. Shreyas Iyer continued his fine form in white-ball cricket and scored another half-century, making 64 off 40 balls. Deepak Hooda also posted a nice score of 38 off 25 balls. He had a 76-run stand with Iyer. After the fall of their wickets, wickets of Sanju Samson (15), Dinesh Karthik (12) came early.
Hardik Pandya's 28 off 16 balls helped India reach the 180-run mark. Odean Smith was the pick of the West Indies bowlers, he took 3/33. Hayden Walsh, Obed McCoy and Jason Holder took one wicket each.
Chasing 189, West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals. Spinner Axar Patel (3/15) destroyed the top order while Ravi Bishnoi (4/16) and Kuldeep Yadav (3/12) took the middle order and lower order wickets.
Except for Shimron Hetmyer, nobody looked like a threat to Indians. He played a great knock of 56 off 35 balls and was pretty much the one-man-army. West Indies was bundled out for 100 runs and lost the match by 88 runs. Axar Patel won the 'Man of the Match' for his brilliant 3/15.