India vs West Indies 1st T20 - India made to sweat in a low-scoring game

posted on 2018-11-04 22:49:17
posted by Nesara VJ

Image Courtesy: The Indian Express

Although the popular belief was that the Indian Cricket team would ease to victory in the first T20I against West Indies, the Caribbean side put up a rare fightback against the young Indian side today at the Eden Gardens. However, the Indian team did emerge victorious in this low scoring encounter which was all one-way traffic at the end of the first innings. It was Kuldeep Yadav's brilliant 3 wicket haul and debutante Krunal Pandya's late surge which helped India shake off the initial jitters to reach the mediocre target of 110 runs with 13 balls left.

There were a few moments before the toss which demanded attention. While Krunal Pandya and K Khaleel Ahmed were handed their debuts, the Windies team also had three debutants on their side. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was named in the initial 12 had to miss out on the game due to a gastric problem. Umesh Yadav had to replace him and Chahal sat out of the final XI. With Andre Russel injured, Windies named Shai Hope as his last-minute replacement. Rishabh Pant who was expected to don the wicketkeeper gloves had to make way for the experienced Dinesh Karthik behind the wickets.

This was West Indies's first bilateral T20 series in India and only Denesh Ramdin and Carlos Braithwaite had had the experience of playing a T20I in India. Rohit won the toss and took the decision of fielding first which has been India's strength in recent times.

Being put into bat, the West Indies team never got going from the start. Umesh Yadav's ball was doing the talking as he troubled the batsman early on. This led to Ramdin edging one which went straight into the unfamiliar hands behind the wicket for India in a T20 international- Dinesh Karthik. In a comical set of events, Manish Pandey saved KL Rahul from embarrassment by effecting a run-out which led to the dismissal of Shai Hope. KL was about to make a mess of an easy run-out when the fellow Bangalore lad came to his rescue and completed the run-out.

Though Hetymer looked impressed at the start of his innings, he failed to get past Bumrah. The Windies team failed to construct any partnerships which also saw the experienced duo of Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard fail to make an impact on the game. Pollard also became his franchise-mate Krunal Pandya's first victim on the international level. Otherwise, Kuldeep Yadav was the usual suspect as he picked up an impressive 3-wicket haul in his IPL home ground. The rest of the bowlers each shared a wicket and Windies debutante Fabian Allen was the only saving grace as a quick cameo of 27 runs set India a target of paltry 110 runs.

With a target run-rate of 5.5 runs per over, the Indian team was expected to make a merry of the run-chase. However, the pitch started to show some purchase to the faster bowlers which helped Oshane Thomas to remove the Indian openers in quick succession. It should be noted that India's opening duo of Rohit and Dhawan have failed to click together against Windies in the entire series and it needs to be corrected before the Australia series. Rahul's struggles continued from the field as he was not never able to time the ball to his satisfaction. However, he did provide India with some breathing space after the early dismissal of the openers. Captain Braithwaite combined with Darren Bravo to remove both Pant and Rahul which made the match very interesting. Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik steadied the ship for India before debutante Pierre removed Pandey. In came the elder Pandya brother who got India out of a tricky situation with a 9 ball 21 runs. India eventually cruised to the target with almost 2 overs left.

Although the match might have seemed close at the outset, the first innings meant that India would be in the game until the final ball was bowled. India will need to set the top-order batting right before the Aussie sojourn and Rohit will have a decision to make when Bhuvi comes back as Umesh Yadav was impressive in the game. India will look to seal the series in Lucknow while the young Windies side will look to find out a way to penetrate their impressive fast-bowling into the shaky middle-order of India. Windies are obviously missing Narine in the spin department and their experienced T20 specialists have to perform well if they need to level the series at Lucknow.

Match Summary:

India 110 for 5 (Karthik 31*, Krunal 21*, Brathwaite 2-11, Thomas 2-21) beat West Indies 109 for 8 (Allen 27, Kuldeep 3-13) by five wickets

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