After winning the toss, the West Indies captain Rovman Powell made the bold decision to bat first on what seemed to be a challenging pitch. Powell (48 off 32) then played a captain’s knock to help the hosts put on a competitive total of 149 for six in their allotted 20 overs.
As it happened: India vs West Indies, 1st T20I
The Indian bowlers initially struggled to put the hosts under pressure as the new ball didn’t offer much assistance during the powerplay. The opening pace duo of Mukesh Kumar and Arshdeep Singh failed to find breakthroughs.
India captain Hardik Pandya had to bring spin into the attack in the fourth over. But Axar Patel was greeted with an impressive inside-out six over cover by Brandon King, who looked determined to capitalise on any loose deliveries.
However, the introduction of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal turned the tide in India’s favour. Kyle Myers, who was struggling to read Chahal’s variations, attempted a slog sweep only to miss the ball, and the on-field umpire adjudged him lbw. The replays, though, indicated that the ball was missing the stumps, but Myers chose not to review the decision.
Chahal struck again in the same over when Brandon King failed to read a straight delivery and was trapped in front, leaving the West Indies at 54 for two in six overs.
Nicholas Pooran, fresh from his sensational hundred in the Major League Cricket final, looked in sublime touch from the outset. He took the attack to Axar Patel, smashing him for a six and a four in the cow corner region. Pooran’s aggressive intent added impetus to the West Indies’ innings.
Just as the West Indies seemed poised for a formidable total, India managed to pull things back with some disciplined bowling in the death overs. Arshdeep Singh, in particular, showcased his ability to execute yorkers and slower deliveries with precision, accounting for two crucial wickets.
Chasing 150 for victory, the Indian batting order faced a stern test against a determined West Indies bowling attack. The opening duo of Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill were expected to provide a strong start. However, they perished cheaply, falling to the crafty West Indian pacers.
Suryakumar Yadav joined forces with debutant Tilak Varma to steady the ship. The duo exhibited admirable composure as they rebuilt the innings cautiously.
Varma, making his international debut, looked remarkably comfortable at the crease. The 20-year-old southpaw played with a fearless approach, taking on the West Indies’ quickest bowler, Alzarri Joseph, and launching him for consecutive sixes over deep square leg.
Varma’s fearless innings also featured a breathtaking aerial drive for another six off pacer Romario Shepherd. Varma’s fearless knock though ended on 39 off 22 balls.
And India’s hopes of victory began to diminish when Holder’s vital 16th overturned the match in favour of the West Indies. The West Indies skipper removed the dangerous Hardik Pandya, who had been looking threatening, before a brilliant run-out by the home side dismissed Sanju Samson.
With 37 runs needed off the last 30 balls and six wickets in hand, India self-destructed under the pressure. A struggling lower-middle order struggled to keep up with the required run rate. A late flourish from tail-ender Arshdeep Singh, who scored 12 runs off the penultimate over, added some excitement to the chase, but it wasn’t enough.
Romario Shepherd, entrusted with the responsibility of bowling the final over, held his nerve and defended ten runs. India finished their innings at 145 for 9 in the end, four runs short of the target.
(With inputs from PTI)