Indian bowler Ravi Bishnoi celebrates with teammates after the wicket of West Indian batsman Roston Chase, during the first T20 cricket match between India and West Indies, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday,. (PTI Photo)
Skipper Rohit slams 19-ball 40 as India cruise to six-wicket win over WI By Tapan Mohanta
Kolkata, Feb 16 (PTI) Surkyakumar Yadav played the finisher's role to perfection after skipper Rohit Sharma blazed away at the top as India secured a clinical six-wicket win over the West Indies in the first T20 International here on Wednesday.
At his favourite Eden Gardens, Rohit smashed a 19-ball 40 (6x3, 4x4) to give India the perfect foundation after his bowlers restricted the visitors to 157 for seven.
In the company of Venkatesh Iyer (24 off 13), Surkyakumar then hit a brisk 34 in just 18 deliveries to help India chase down the target of 158 with seven balls to spare and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Roston Chase (2/14) bowled brilliantly in the middle overs and dismissed the two Indian openers -- Rohit and Ishan Kishan -- before the hosts also lost Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant to leave them at 114/4 inside 15 overs.
The most expensive IPL buy, Ishan Kishan, who was bought back by the Mumbai Indians for a staggering Rs 15.25 crore, made 35 in 42 balls before becoming Chase's second victim.
Kishan, who opened the batting with the skipper, struggled to get going even as Rohit looked in full flow.
Former India skipper Virat Kohli also continued his lean patch and fell cheaply for a 13-ball 17, hitting straight to Kieron Pollard at long-off boundary.
But Rohit's flying start meant that India remained on course before Suryakumar and Iyer produced the finishing act with an unbroken 48-run partnership from 26 balls.
Suryakumar was brilliant all around the wicket and smashed one six and five fours in his unbeaten knock while Iyer, playing with an injured hand, too looked in great touch.
Rohit went into the attacking mode from the second over when he smashed Romario Shepherd over deep square leg.
Odean Smith bore the brunt of Rohit's excellent batting as the captain took him to the cleaners with a 6, 4, 6 off successive balls to collect 22 runs from the over.
The 50-partnership was up for India in just 4.3 overs but Rohit could not convert his start and was dismissed by Chase while trying to clear the deep midwicket fence.
For the Windies, Chase was impressive and also took the wicket of Ishan Kishan to finish with fantastic figures of 4-0-14-2.
Earlier, on a high after his hefty IPL buyout, wicketkeeper-batter Nicholas Pooran returned to form a with a brisk 61 as West Indies recovered from a mid-innings slump to post a fighting total.
The left-hander, who clinched a fat paycheck of Rs 10.75 crore from Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL mega auction, got back to rhythm in style, scoring his runs in 43 balls with five sixes and four boundaries.
The Windies No. 3, who endured an abysmal last IPL with 85 runs at a poor average of 7.72 and had scores of 18, 9 and 34 in the preceding three ODIs, made his intention clear by smashing Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a big six early on.
The Indian spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and debutant legs-pinner Ravi Bishnoi derailed the Windies in the middle overs by taking three wickets in between them, but Pooran held on as the visitors unleashed their fury in the death by scoring 61 runs in the the last five overs. A fit-again Kieron Pollard, who missed the last two matches in the ODI series, played a cameo (24 not out from 19 balls) with two fours and one six.
Jodhpur's googly man Bishnoi made his debut memorable as he returned tidy figures of 4-0-17-2, including the wickets of Roston Chase (4) and Rovman Powell (2) in a space of four balls to derail the Windies in the middle overs. Bhuvneshwar got his swing going up front and dismissed Brandon King (4) in the first over after the batter had failed to negotiate his outswingers.
Kyle Mayers and Pooran steadied the innings before the wicketkeeper broke the shackles with a big six against Bhuvneshwar. Mayers also stepped it up against the likes of Chahar and Harshal Patel as the Windies enjoyed a decent powerplay, reaching 44/1 in six overs.
Rohit was quick to bring in his most experienced spinner in the lineup, Chahal, immediately after the powerplay and almost had the dangerous-looking Pooran first ball. But the debutant Bishnoi made an error of judgment while going for the catch, stepping on the rope to give Pooran a reprieve on 8.
Chahal, however, got the much-needed breakthrough when he trapped the well-set Mayers, who reviewed the decision but to no avail. Then the debutant from Jodhpur had the Windies caught in his spin web, before Pooran and Pollard propped them up.