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India vs West Indies | Navdeep Saini the Star as India Win Low-Scoring First T20I

Cricketnext Staff |August 4, 2019, 8:27 AM IST
India vs West Indies | Navdeep Saini the Star as India Win Low-Scoring First T20I

West Indies bowlers tried their best but it was debutant Navdeep Saini who emerged as the most valuable player in India's four-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International of the three-match series in Florida on Saturday (August 3).

Asked to bat, West Indies kept losing wickets on a tacky surface as they had no response to India's disciplined bowling. Saini was pick of the bowlers as he finished with figures of 3 for 17. Kieron Pollard (49) was the only batsman who managed to hold his own and somehow pushed the Men in Maroon to 95 for 9 in their 20 overs.

In reply, India too kept losing wickets at regular intervals but still managed to chase down the total in 17.2 overs.

West Indies batsmen went for way too many shots and it all started with John Campbell (0) smacking Washington Sundar's second delivery straight into the deep mid-wicket fielder. Meanwhile Evin Lewis, who had two centuries against India in three T20Is, was deceived by Bhuvneshwar Kumar's (2 for 19) knuckle ball and ended up getting knocked over.

Nicholas Pooran (16-ball 20) did slam a couple of huge maximums before becoming Navdeep Saini's maiden international victim. The right-arm paceman then sent Shimron Hetmyer back for a golden duck to make his debut even better.

There was hardly any contribution from Rovman Powell (4), skipper Carlos Brathwaite (9) and Sunil Narine (2) as Khaleel Ahmed, Krunal Pandya (1 for 20) and Ravindra Jadeja (1 for 13) too joined the party. The two left-arm spinners kept it very tight and only gave away 33 runs off their eight overs.

With wickets falling at the other end, Kieron Pollard had to restrict himself from playing his natural game and took only calculated risk. The right-hander smoked four sixes and two fours in his 49-ball knock but found no support from the other end. Pollard missed out on a half-century by a solitary run as he missed Saini's full toss and was pinned right in front of the stumps.

Saini didn't concede a single run in the final over and finished things off in style.

Making his return from an injury that ruled him out of the World Cup, Shikhar Dhawan couldn't have asked for a better game to spend some time in the middle but the left-hander was plumb right in front of the stumps by Sheldon Cottrell (2 for 40) for just 1.

Rohit Sharma looked in fine touch during his stay in the middle and played some eye-pleasing shots, including a six over covers. The Indian vice-captain was going well before he mistimed Sunil Narine's delivery straight into the hands of the long on fielder. On the very next ball, Rishabh Pant went for a needless slog sweep and ended up getting caught deep square leg.

Having been reduced to 32 for 3, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey then kept rotating strike but also played some quality shots. Pandey in particular looked in fine touch and announced his arrival with a solid straight drive. Just when everything was going smooth, Keemo Paul castled Pandey for 14-ball 19 with India still needing 32 runs.

Kohli could never get going and was caught at mid-wicket for 29-ball 19 while playing an uncharacteristic pull shot. After Pandya fell to Paul for 12, Jadeja and Washington pushed India over the line, with the latter bringing the curtain down with a maximum down the ground.

The second T20I will be played at the same venue on Sunday.

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