India survived a massive scare from a spirited West Indies side as they clinched a 3-run win in the first ODI, which went down to the wire at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad on Friday.
Mohammed Siraj held his nerve and delivered a fine final over as Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein’s valiant cameos in the death overs ended in vain. Siraj shone with figures of 2/58 while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal stepped up and picked up 2 wickets as India successfully defended 308.
West Indies rode on a fine 75 from opener Kyle Mayers and a fifty from Brandon King and cameos from Shepherd and Hosein to get close to the target. However, they were restricted to 305/6, falling agonisingly short of the target.
Siraj defended 15 runs in the final over as he gave away just one boundary (to Shepherd) as Dhawan’s men held their nerves to seal a 1-0 lead in the 3-match ODI series.
Shardul Thakur was expensive (2/54 in 8 overs) but he got the big wickets of Mayers (75) and Shamarh Brooks (46) after the duo added 117 runs for the second wicket after Siraj took out Shai Hope early in West Indies chase.
Chahal delivered with wickets of Brandon King (54) and the big-hitting Rovman Powell (6) but Axar Patel, who was into the XI after vice-captain Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out due to a knee niggle, went wicketless.
SHIKHAR DHAWAN DELIVERS AT THE TOP
Earlier in the day, Shikhar Dhawan led from the front in a free-flowing knock of 97 as India posted 309 on the board after West Indies won the toss and opted to bat. Dhawan returned to the limited-overs set-up in India’s tour of England earlier this month but the senior batter failed to get going in the 3-match ODI series in Old Blighty.
Questions were asked of his place in the side even as he was appointed as the captain of a second-string India side for the ODIs in the West Indies. However, Dhawan, as he has in his career umpteen times, proved his naysayers wrong with a dominant 97.
Shikhar Dhawan missed his 18th ODI hundred by just 3 runs as he fell as early as the 35th over when he tried to get to his first ODI century since the 2019 World Cup. Dhawan tried to cut left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie but was caught at point by Shamarh Brooks.
Dhawan missed out on an opportunity to become only the 3rd India captain after Rahul Dravid in 2006 and Virat Kohli (2013, 2017, 2019) to hit a hundred in ODIs in the West Indies.
Dhawan had stitched a solid 119-run opening partnership with young Shubman Gill, who took the opportunity that came his way with both hands, hitting a quickfire 64 in just 53 balls. However, Gill threw his wicket away by getting run-out after a lethargic attempt to complete a single in the 18th over.
Shreyas Iyer, who walked in at No. 3, began cautiously as West Indies pacers targetted him with short balls,w which have proved to be his Achilles heel in the recent past. However, Dhawan’s aggression at the other end, allowed Iyer to take his time and settle into his innings.
Iyer got going, taking the attack to West Indies spinners, especially part-time operation in captain Nicholas Pooran. However, Iyer also threw his wicket away after getting to his fifty.
However, there was a middle-order failure in the Indian innings as Suryakumar Yadav (13) and Sanju Samson (12) fell in quick succession.
West Indies choked the new batters even as Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel tried to get going in the death overs. While Axar overcame a slow start to hit a 21-ball 21, Hooda hit 27 from 32 balls as India inched past 300 after looking set to post in excess of 330 at one point in their innings.
India managed just 73 runs in their last 15 overs as the likes of Alzarri Joseph, Jayden Seales and Romario Shepherd bowled well at the death for the West Indies.
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