Kuldeep Yadav starred with the ball, ending the match with figures of 3/13 in 4 overs as the Windies were restricted to 109/8. A useful knock from Dinesh Karthik (31) down the order and a cameo from debutant Krunal Pandya was enough to win the match after a poor showing from India’s top-order.
The Windies batting unit failed to fire after being asked to bat first, leaving India with a small total to chase down.
Even the inclusion of experienced internationals like Darren Bravo, Carlos Brathwaite and Keiron Pollard failed to prevent a batting collapse as the visitors ended their 20 overs having just crossed the 100-run mark.
After having made a solid start in the first two overs, Windies lost their first wicket when Denesh Ramdin poked at a delivery outside the off stump, to give Umesh Yadav the first wicket of the game.
Khaleel Ahmed and Jasprit Bumrah accounted for Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer, respectively. Suddenly the mood changed as out came Pollard, whose hard-hitting prowess is something Indian fans are all too familiar with.
Yet the burly all-rounder put in one of his more subdued performances and by the time he was dismissed by Pandya, he had only made 14 runs off 26 balls having hit just the solitary six.
Having already lost four wickets, the visitors were then subject to the wrist spin of Kuldeep. The left-armer is familiar with the conditions at the Eden Gardens, having played all his IPL cricket for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
He proceeded to remove Bravo, Rovman Powell and Brathwaite with consummate ease as Windies seemed likely to be dismissed for a score below three figures.
Only lower-order contributions from Fabian Allen (27) and Keemo Paul (15*) ensured they got over the 100-run mark, although it still seemed unlikely that they would stand any chance of winning the match.
Nevertheless, the Windies looked to have made things a little difficult at the start of the second innings as Oshane Thomas got rid of Rohit Sharma in the first over itself.
Thomas would then account for Shikhar Dhawan in his next over, leaving India’s shaky middle-order to score the remaining runs.
Karthik, whose future in Test cricket remains up in the air at this point, showed that he could still be a valuable asset in limited-overs cricket and was the only bright spot in an otherwise poor middle-order.
Pant threw away his wicket after failing to read a slower one from Brathwaite and top-edging a simple catch to Bravo.
KL Rahul – who endured a torrid time in the field in the first innings – looked uncomfortable with the bat too and when he holed out to Bravo, it seemed like the Windies might just make a fist of this.
Manish Pandey looked solid during his stay at the crease and looked set to take India home alongside Karthik but ended up dismissed by debutant Khary Pierre.
Pandya, who had a decent day with the ball (1/15), joined Karthik after Pandey was dismissed and smashed three fours to ensure the remaining runs were mopped up without too much fuss. He remained unbeaten on 21 off 9 balls.
First Published: November 5, 2018, 7:24 AM IST