Photo: BCCI

KL Rahul was named Player of the Match in the T20I series-decider against West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday after a scintillating knock that saw him nearly score a century.

Put into bat first, KL Rahul got going by getting off the mark with a four in just the second ball that he faced, and then followed it up with a successive boundary.

From a steady start of 13 runs in the first 10 deliveries, he scored 25 in the next seven and went on to bring up his fifty in just 29 balls.

Along with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul forged a 135-run partnership for the opening wicket that ended in the 12th over. He then put up a 44-ball 95-run stand with captain Virat Kohli for the fourth wicket before he fell for 91 in the final over, in what could have been the third KL Rahul century in T20 Internationals.

"I told KL to stay on till the end, and said I'll try and smash a few," said Virat Kohli, who upped the tempo of the innings towards the end.

The 27-year-old KL Rahul, who plays for Kings XI Punjab in the VIVO Indian Premier League, took just 56 balls for his innings and slammed 9 fours and 4 sixes, scoring runs at a strike rate of 162.50. It was his second fifty of the series after his 62 in the first T20I in Hyderabad last week.

With KL Rahul's near-ton, Rohit Sharma's 71 (34b, 6x4s, 5x6s) and Virat Kohli's unbeaten 70 (29b, 4x4s, 7x6s), India posted a mammoth total of 240/3.

"It was a great opportunity to bat first in a series decider, and it came off, and it'll give us a lot of confidence going into the other T20 series going forward," KL Rahul said.

KL Rahul has scored two centuries in T20Is, with his highest score of 110, which came against the West Indies in 2016.

West Indies ended their innings on 173/8 handing the match to India by 67 runs helped by two wickets each by Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Shami, who bagged 2/25 in his four overs.