KOLKATA, India – THE WINDIES suffered a 5-wicket defeat in the low-scoring 1st Twenty20 International at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. WINDIES posted 109/9 from 20 overs, while India reached the target in 17.5 overs to finish on 110/5.
The WINDIES had a new, young look to the team composition led by Carlos Brathwaite. There were three debutants for the WINDIES in the Playing XI, with the pace freight train of Oshane Thomas, speedster Fabian Allen and left-arm mystery spinner Khary Pierre. The Playing XI also saw the return of Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard into the WINDIES team.
India won the toss and elected to bowl first in an outfield that was covered with dew before a ball was even bowled. Shai Hope and Denesh Ramdin opened the batting for the WINDIES, with Hope stroking the ball beautifully to the boundary for the first four in the opening over. But Ramdin looking to finesse the ball got a soft edge and was caught behind for 2 in the second over.
Shimron Hetmyer who’s coming off a blazing Twenty20 season in the Caribbean Premier League and then the ODI against India, joined Hope. The pair added 6-runs to the WINDIES total before total confusion on the pitch that saw both batsmen at the same end. Despite a fumble in the fielding from India, the runout was easy. Hope dismissed for 14. 6 runs later, Hetmyer skied one that saw wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik running sideways to take an easy catch, out for 10.
Kieron Pollard scored 14 off 26 balls before he became Krunal Pandya’s first T20 scalp. Darren Bravo and Rovman Powell never looked settled as Kuldeep Yadav accounted for both their wickets, they scored 5 and 4 respectively. Tv replays showed that Powell did not get an edge for which he was given out, but he did not review the decision. Carlos Brathwaite also had a difficult time coming by the runs, as he became Kuldeep’s third wicket, LBW for 4.
Fabian Allen then proved saviour for the WINDIES innings, he smashed a quickfire 27 off 20 balls, before Khaleel Ahmed had him caught. Keemo Paul and debutant Khary Pierre took the WINDIES from 87/8 to 109/8 at the end of 20 overs. Paul finished on 15 not out, while Pierre was 9 not out. Bowling for India, Kuldeep Yadav had the best figures with 3/13 from his 4 overs.
The 46,000 plus crowd fancied India’s chances to easily get the low total, but the WINDIES had a secret weapon, Oshane Thomas. The youngster steamed in with each delivery over 140kmp, until the sixth ball of the first over when he got India’s Captain Rohit Sharma to nick one behind, which the review showed was indeed out. India 7/1, Sharma gone for 6. Nine runs later and Oshane had his man again for the third time in as many matches. He stayed with the line and length then produced a beauty that Malcolm Marshall would’ve been proud of, to castle Dhawan’s middle stump for 3.
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant looked to consolidate India’s innings, but Carlos Brathwaite had other ideas. He had Pant caught by Darren Bravo for 1 then Rahul also caught by Bravo for 16. India’s supporters became nervous as the wickets tumbled. Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik had a 37-run cameo before Pandey was caught and bowled by Khary Pierre.
Karthik was then joined by Krunal Pandya and the pair saw India home in 17.5 overs. India 110/5. Oshane Thomas showed pace bowling reminiscent of bygone WINDIES years. He finished with figures of 2/21, while Skipper Carlos Brathwaite had best WINDIES bowling figures of 2/11 from his 4 overs.
The WINDIES and India play the 2nd T20 International on November 6 in Kanpur-Lucknow.