The first T20 international in the three match series between India and West Indies proved to be a low-scoring affair as the visitors’ humble total of 109-8 in 17.5 overs was chased down by India with five wickets to spare.
This encounter saw no less than five players making their debuts and was expected to be an interesting affair. The game did live up to the expectations with debutants Thomas Oshane, Krunal Pandya and Fabian Allen impressing.
Here, we take a look at some of the talking points from the game.
Indian pacers provide early breakthrough
The hard pitch at Eden Gardens was begging for pacers’ domination and Umesh Yadav answered in just the third over when his good length delivery, wide off the stumps, saw Denesh Ramdin nick the ball to an anticipating Dinesh Karthik who made no mistake.
Jasprit Bumrah sent Shimron Hetmyer back to the pavilion not long after that, the West Indian tried hooking the ball but managed to send it only as far as Karthik.
Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav clean up the middle order
Just when Keiron Pollard looked like he was adjusting his game to the wicket, his IPL teammate Krunal Pandya got the better of him and forced a shot to long-on which fell into the safe hands of Manish Pandey.
Pandya later completed a dream debut with an impressive performance with the bat. He got to the crease when the hosts were five down and made short work of whatever little was left in the game that the Windies were chasing with renewed hope after a middle-order-collapse. A quickfire 21 runs from nine deliveries ensured that he saw the game through with Karthik at the other end.
A mirror-image of Pollard’s dismissal followed in the next over when Darren Bravo fell victim to Kuldeep Yadav, with Shikhar Dhawan claiming the catch. Yadav then sent Rovman Powell and captain Carlos Brathwaite back for single digit scores and debutant Fabian Allen ensured the visitors crept over 100.
Oshane Thomas shows promise, India survive Brathwaite scare
Final result aside, Oshane Thomas couldn’t have asked for a better start to his career. The youngster was troubling established batsmen with his fearsome pace.
Defending a target of just 109 runs is never easy and the pressure on a debutant who opens the bowling is immense. But Oshane started a fight which the visitors rallied behind later.The 21-year-old first removed Rohit Sharma who edged the ball to an eager Ramdin behind the stumps.
After two misses with fast, short deliveries against a shaken Dhawan, Oshane got it right on the third try, uprooting the middle stump to send the southpaw back to the pavilion. The youngster showed promise throughout and is certainly one to watch out for.
Captain Carlos led from the front after Oshane provided the visitors some hope. Rishab Pant was first to fall after he played an amateur shot that sent the ball straight up and Bravo was not dropping that.
In Brathwaite’s next over, KL Rahul attempted to hook the ball past deep square leg only to watch the ball fall short by a couple of metres and land into the hands of Bravo. Brathwaite conceded just two runs in his first three overs and the momentum entered the neutral zone, with India eventually working hard to earn their victory.
Lack of depth in bowling costs West Indies
The visitors looked to have momentarily gained the momentum until the 11th over, but ran short of bowling options after that. It took one poor over from Pollard to help the Indians restore their advantage. Karthik smashed Pollard for three boundaries and the hosts were again the favourites to wrap the game up.
Brathwaite’s efforts to assert himself in his second spell were in vain as lack of depth in bowling attack cost the Windies the game.
The team definitely needed more specialist bowlers in their attack. The West Indies started the game with just four bowlers and two all-rounders and this is insufficient when defending such a low total.
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