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India vs West Indies | Splendid Saini Makes Dream Debut to International Career

Nikhil Narain |August 4, 2019, 1:25 PM IST
India vs West Indies | Splendid Saini Makes Dream Debut to International Career

Navdeep Saini had a dream debut in international cricket as his splendid three-wicket haul helped India to a four-wicket win in the first T20I against the West Indies in Lauderhill.

Saini became the sixth Indian bowler to pick 3 or more wickets on his T20I debut.

He was introduced in the fifth over and was immediately put under pressure by Nicholas Pooran who pulled him straight over his head into the stands.

But Saini maintained his composure and had the last laugh as Pooran top-edged a short of a length delivery at off-stump – the fourth ball of the over - for an easy catch to Rishabh Pant. It was an effort delivery by Saini bowled at 87 miles per hour.

He then sent the dangerous Shimron Hetymer packing back to the pavilion for a golden duck – the left-hander played on to a short delivery outside the off stump.

Saini had bowled an excellent first over in international cricket. He was within the middle and off stump or just outside and kept the batsmen guessing with his length.

He was very impressive in his second over too as he bowled 6 dot deliveries to Kieron Pollard and troubled him mixing his line and length. He brought one back in and followed it with a bouncer. He rapped Pollard on his thigh guard and did not let him off the hook even when he came down the track looking to attack the bowler.

Two wickets in the first over and a near-maiden (if not for a wide) to one of the most dangerous T20 batsman in the world in the second – it had been a sensational start for Saini!

Saini returned to bowl at the death. He hit Keemo Paul on the gloves with a snorter of a short delivery bowled at high pace – the first ball of the 18th over – and then bowled a tremendous yorker as the follow-up delivery, showcasing not only the variety he possesses but also his intelligent thinking.

He finished his spell with a fine last over. He beat a well set Pollard with two wide yorkers before beating him for a third time in a row with a slower full toss to have him leg before wicket. It was the change of pace from Saini – from 144 km per hour to 135 km per hour – which got the better of Pollard.

Saini did not concede a single run off the remaining three deliveries as well and finished off with a wicket maiden.

He returned with figures of 3-17 in 4 overs – all three crucial top-order wickets.

Saini bowled as many as 19 dot deliveries – an indicator of the immaculate and discipline channels he bowled on what was a remarkable debut and a Player of the Match performance – his best performance in his T20 career.

Saini has picked 30 wickets in 34 T20 (domestic) matches with 3-28 being his previous best. He has been quite restrictive with an economy rate of 7.07. He represented RCB in IPL 2019 and picked 11 wickets from 13 matches.

He has an impressive first-class record with 120 wickets in 43 matches at an average of 28.23. Saini was the leading wicket-taker for Delhi in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy with 34 wickets in just 8 matches.

He has also accounted for 65 wickets in 41 LIST-A matches at 27.21 apiece at a strike rate of 32.4 and was the highest wicket-taker for Delhi in the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy with 16 wickets in just 8 matches.

He recently picked a fifer (5-46) against West Indies A in North Sound.

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