IMPRESSIVE performances by bowlers especially pacers helped West Indies beat India by fours runs in the first T20I and take 1-0 lead in the five-match series at Brian Lara Stadium, here on Thursday.
An impressive collective performance from bowlers helped India restrict West Indies to 149/6 in 20 overs after hosts won the toss and opted to bat first. Captain Rovman Powell (48) and Nicolas Pooran (41) top-scored for West Indies as other batters couldn’t stay long on the crease.
For India, Yuzvendra Chahal (2/24), Arshdeep Singh (2/31) got two wickets each while skipper Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav claimed one wicket apiece.
Chasing a challenging total on bowler friendly pitch, Indian openers Ishan Kishan (6) and Shubman Gill (3) got out cheaply inside the first five overs. India were in deep trouble at 28-2 in 4.5 overs but Suryakumar Yadav (21 off 21) and debutant Tilak Varma (39 off 22) joined hands to revive India’s innings.
Despite playing his first match for India, Tilak didn’t look in any sort of pressure and played some glorious shots. On the other hand, Suryakumar wasn’t at his fluent best but he was giving enough support from the other end.
The partnership was broken by Jason Holder, who removed Suryakumar in the 9th over. In the very next over, Tilak also got out to Romario Shepherd as India slipped to 77-4 after 10.6 overs.
Skipper Hardik Pandya (19 off 19) and Sanju Samson (12 off 12) then stabilized the innings and stitched a partnership of 36 runs before both got out in the same over — 16th of the innings as the game once again got shifted in West Indies’ favour.
With his 13 off 11, Axar Patel gave India some hope but he also got out on the first ball of the 19th over. Arshdeep Singh kept India alive in the run chase with two boundaries during his cameo (12 off 7) before he got out in the second last ball of the innings as India were eventually restricted to 145-9 in 20 overs, falling short by four runs.
Obed McCoy (2/28), Jason Holder (2/19) and Romario Shepherd (2/33) were the most successful bowlers for West Indies.
Earlier, West Indies started well with opener Brandon King going great in the first four overs before Chahal’s double strike dented hosts.Chahal removed both openers Kyle Mayers and King in quick succession, reducing the host to 30/2 in five overs. Then, Pooran came and started off with a decent boundary followed by a massive six to take the power-play total to 54-2.
Kuldeep came into attack in the eighth over and got the wickets of Johnson Charles, who miscued the slog sweep and the ball was in the air for a long time. Debutant Tilak Verma ran across to his left from deep midwicket, sliding through to take a fine catch.
Indian bowlers managed to keep the host’s run rate in check as West Indies were 69/3 at the halfway mark. Afterward, Powell went for a couple of boundaries to add crucial runs to the board.
In the 14th over, Kuldeep bowled a skillful googly that created an opportunity to dismiss Powell, but unfortunately, the Windies captain survived as Shubman Gill dropped the catch. However, in the very next over, Pandya, who came to bowl in place of Chahal, managed to dismiss the well-set Pooran for 41.
Shimron Hetmyer then came and smashed a fantastic boundary and Powell finished the over with a maximum. With 11 runs coming off the 15th over, West Indies crossed the 100-run mark.
Powell went for a few big hits in the next two overs. Before, Arshdeep struck in the penultimate over and removed Hetmyer for 10. In the same over, he removed the dangerous-looking Powell for 48, denying him a fifty.
Mukesh started the final over well with four consecutive singles before conceding a no ball but he continued with his disciplined bowling as West Indies settled for 149/6 in 20 overs.
Brief Scores: West Indies 149 for six in 20 overs (Rovman Powell 48, Nicholas Pooran 41; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-24, Arshdeep Singh 2-31) beat India 145 for 9 in 20 overs (Tilak Varma 39; Jason Holder 2-19) by 4 runs.