Kolkata: India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against West Indies with a nervy six-wicket win in the opener at Eden Gardens on Sunday. After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Rohit Sharma’s men made light work of the Caribbean side by restricting them to 109-8 courtesy of a commendable bowling show.
But despite the low total, the hosts suffered an early scare as pacer Oshane Thomas got the better of openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Captain Carlos Brathwaite who had failed to contribute with the bat the way he did in the ICC World Twenty20 final at the same venue in 2016 then piled misery by deceiving Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul to put the hosts under pressure.
But Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik stitched a vital partnership to bail India out of trouble before debutant Khary Pierre broke the partnership by dismissing the former. Karthik then build another partnership with Krunal Pandya for the sixth wicket to ensure there were no more hiccups as India continued their winning spree without Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni this time.
India 94-5 after 16 overs:
WICKET! Soft dismissal for Windies as Manish Pandey departs. Length ball, the batsman lunged forward to defend but casually drove it low before Khary Pierre snapped at it by diving ahead. Partnership broken.
India 45-4 after 8 overs:
CAUGHT! Can you manage to keep Carlos Brathwaite out at Eden Gardens? The Windies skipper claims his second wicket and it's KL Rahul. Banged in short, the batsman rocks back only to smack it straight towards the man at deep mid-wicket. India in deep, deep trouble as Brathwaite wraps off with a wicket-maiden.
India 45-3 after 7 overs:
CAUGHT! Deja Vu for India as they begin to wobble early on. Change in pace does the trick for Carlos Brathwaite as Rishabh Pant swings his bat nonchalantly only to get a top edge which Darren Bravo settles under. #TeamIndia #INDvWI
India 22-2 after 4 overs:
BOWLED! Thomas does the damage again and India have now lost both their openers. That came in at 147kph and Shikhar Dhawan tried to push the incoming delivery, leaving a big gap between bat and pad that saw the middle-stump rattled.
Now this is proper pace. Oshane Thomas. Troubling good batsmen with sheer speed.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) November 4, 2018
India 11-2 after 2 overs:
WICKET! Silence at the Eden Garden as Oshane Thomas gets rid of Rohit Sharma. Windies get the review right after UltraEdge confirms the India skipper got a nick while trying to play the incoming delivery.
West Indies 108-9 after 20 overs:
India restricted West Indies to 109-8 in the opening T20 of the three-match series on Sunday after winning the toss and electing to bat. Carlos Brathwaite’s men endured a miserable start and were stuttering at 28/3 after failing to cope with the Indian pace attack.
With the experience of Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard, it seemed like the visitors would revive themselves but Krunal Pandya joined the party with his first T20I wicket, dismissing Mumbai Indians teammate Pollard.
Kuldeep Yadav then worked his magic on the Eden Gardens strip by tearing apart the middle-order that included the prized scalp of West Indies skipper Carlos Brathwaite. Fabian Allen played a short-lived cameo that included four boundaries before he fell victim to Khaleel Ahmed, who also claimed his maiden T20I wicket.
Tailenders Khary Pierre and Keemo Paul later ensured the visitors cruised past the century-mark in a performance they will be well disappointed with.
West Indies 87-8 after 18 overs:
CAUGHT! Maiden T20I wicket for Khaleel Ahmed who gets the better of Fabian Allen. A slower delivery which the batsman misreads, scooping it straight to Umesh Yadav at deep mid-wicket.
West Indies 63-7 after 15 overs:
LBW! Kuldeep Yadav gets the big fish Carlos Brathwaite who is trapped plump in front of the wickets. The Windies skipper wants a review but after consulting Fabian Allen, makes his way back.
West Indies 56-6 after 13 overs:
KULDEEP YADAV ON A ROLL! The chinaman bamboozles Rovman Powell with the wrong 'un and the batsman pokes a fine edge towards Dinesh Karthik who does the rest.
West Indies 54-5 after 12 overs:
WICKET! Kuldeep Yadav joins the party with the dismissal of Darren Bravo. The batsman cleared his leg and tried to go big over long on but fails to make the connection. Shikhar Dhawan covers good ground and takes a brilliant catch in the deep.
During Tests it felt that Windies batsmen were playing T20.— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) November 4, 2018
In T20 it feels as if they’re playing T10. 🙈😐 #IndvWI
West Indies 49-4 after 10 overs:
CAUGHT! Krunal Pandya claims his maiden T20I wicket and it's his Mumbai Indians teammate, Kieron Pollard who is the victim. A quicker delivery this time and the big West Indies miscues his shot while attempting to play down the ground.
Oh, West Indies! What is it with you and wrist spin?— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) November 4, 2018
West Indies 29-3 after 5 overs:
CAUGHT! Banged in short by Bumrah, Hetmyer backs off and pulls it wildly before getting a top edge which is safely collected by Karthik in the end.
West Indies 22-2 after 4 overs:
WICKET! What is going on? A horrible mix-up between Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer sees the former being run-out.
West Indies 22-1 after 3 overs:
WICKET! Shaped away late after pitching, Umesh draws Ramdin forward and the batsman nicks it towards Dinesh Karthiik behind the stumps.
The 'end of Dhoni era' notion has been dismissed unequivocally but then India, for the first time, will still be without the figure with a monumental body of work when they face West Indies in the opening T20 International on Sunday.
Less than a week after two-time World Cup-winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was left out of India's T20I squad, captain Virat Kohli has said he remains an integral part of India's plans.
Chief selector MSK Prasad also said that it was not the end of the road for Dhoni in T20Is.
With Kohli rested for the three matches, Rohit Sharma will lead the side against the reigning T20 champions.
Under Jason Holder, West Indies were mauled 0-2 in the Test series in six days' of action. In the following five-match ODI series, they posed some challenge before being thrashed 1-3 with a nine-wicket loss in Thiruvananthapuram in the final one-dayer.
But it will not be an easy task for India against the Carlos Brathwaite-led team as the two-month long series begin its final leg, giving the visitors a chance to regain some pride.
Brathwaite will be back at the same venue where he hit four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to break the hearts of English fans by winning their second World Twenty20 title in 2016.
The Windies, who missed the big names in the Test and ODI series, will be bolstered by the arrival of star players Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell, who will be back at his IPL home venue.
The stats also favour the World T20 holders who have a five-two record from eight exchanges from 2009-17.
India failed to overcome Brathwaite's men in their last four encounters and the Windies ended the home team's campaign in the 2016 T20I World Cup, defeating them in the semi-finals in Mumbai.
India's last win against West Indies came way back on March 23, 2014 in the World T20 in Bangladesh, and Sharma will have his task cut out in his quest to start well at his happy hunting ground.
The 31-year-old has a world record score of 264 in ODIs at the Eden Gardens in 2014, besides winning two IPL titles, in 2013 and 2015. He would look to carry his fine form from the ODI series, in which he finished behind Kohli, with 389 runs, at a staggering average of 129.66.
Captaincy seems to bring out the best in Sharma who notched up 317 runs (average 105.66) in five innings in their title-winning campaign at the Asia Cup.
The Windies, on the other hand, will look forward to their youngster Shimron Hetmeyer, who scored 259 runs in the ODI series, including a century in Guwahati.
Kohli's absence would mean KL Rahul will come into the picture while Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant are expected to add firepower in the middle order alongside Krunal Pandya.
Pant is expected to fulfil the wicket-keeping responsibilities while Karthik could take on one of the positions in the outfield.
The Indian seam attack will be led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, which now includes additional variation in the form of left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed.
In the spin department, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will look to continue their chemistry, and India have also named uncapped Krunal Pandya and Shahbaz Nadeem, who returned with a record List A figures of 8/10 for Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The Eden centre strip promises to be full of runs, and batsmen from both sides will look to make merry.
(with agency inputs)
IND XI: RG Sharma, S Dhawan, L Rahul, R Pant, M Pandey, D Karthik, K Pandya, K Yadav, J Bumrah, K Ahmed, U Yadav— BCCI (@BCCI) November 4, 2018
India: Rohit Sharma (Capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, K Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem.
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (Capt), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas, Khary Pierre, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Nicholas Pooran.
The match is scheduled to start at 7:00 P.M. IST.
The live streaming of the fifth and final India versus West Indies ODI will be available on Hotstar.com and Hotstar app.
The live streaming of the match will be available across various Star Sports channels....