Copy of 206087-01-02 [1]-1691347497251
Nicholas Pooran of the West Indies celebrates his half century during the 2nd T20I match against India at Guyana National Stadium in Providence, Guyana, on August 6, 2023. s (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP) Image Credit: AFP

Providence: Tilak Varma struck his first international half-century but it was not enough to prevent India from slipping to a dramatic two-wicket defeat in the second T20I against West Indies in Guyana on Sunday.

India struggled to 152-7 after winning the toss and batting first and, in spite of Nicholas Pooran’s 67, appeared to be heading for victory when West Indies lost four wickets for three runs to slip to 129-8.

However, tailenders Alzarri Joseph and Akeal Hosein kept their cool and slogged the winning runs to see the West Indies home with seven balls to spare.

After winning Thursday’s opener in Tarouba by four runs, West Indies take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

The 20-year-old Varma, who helped light up the IPL with 343 runs for the Mumbai Indians this season, made 51 from 41 balls before clipping left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein to fine leg where Obed McCoy pouched the catch.

Varma came to the crease in the fourth over after Shubman Gill was caught at third man off Alzarri Joseph and Suryakumar Yadav, playing his 50th T20I, was run out by a direct hit from Kyle Mayers to leave India on 18 for two.

Varma added 42 for the third wicket with Ishan Kishan before the opener was bowled by Romario Shepherd for 27.

Sanju Samson fell cheaply and after the dismissal of Varma, who hit five fours and one six in his 51, it was left to skipper Hardik Pandya with 24 from 18 balls to drag the Indians towards a half-decent target.

West Indies made the worst possible start as Pandya removed Brandon King and Johnson Charles in the first four balls of their reply.

Pooran, however, quickly found his range clubbing six fours and four sixes in his 40-ball 67.

Mayers (15) and skipper Rovman Powell (21) offered some support and West Indies appeared to be in control until Pooran hammered Mukesh Kumar to Samson in the covers.

From 126-4, West Indies lost four wickets for just three runs, three of them in the 16th over delivered by Yuzvendra Chahal.

The third of those saw Shimron Hetmyer eighth man out, leg before on review for 22.

That left them needing 24 from the last four overs with just two wickets remaining.

Joseph and Hosein, however, edged them to victory.

The tourists won the preceding two-Test series 1-0 before beating the West Indies 2-1 in the ODIs.

Brief scores: India 152-7 in 20 overs (Tilak Varma 51, Ishan Kishan 27) v West Indies 155-8 in 20 overs (Nicholas Pooran 67, Hardik Panya 3-35). West Indies won by two wickets