India skipper Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik starred with the bat, before spinners weaved a web to help India secure a comfortable 68-run victory in the first of five T20Is against the West Indies at he Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad on July 29.
The platform was laid first up by Rohit, who, in a rather surprising move, opened alongside Suryakumar Yadav after the opposition opted to bowl. The pair put on 44 in 4.4 overs, with SKY playing the aggressor striking three fours and a six, before falling to left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein for a 16-ball 24. hreyas Iyer, who was preferred over Deepak Hooda in the XI, fell for a four-ball duck to Obed McCoy, while Rishabh Pant (14) and Hardik (1) too, failed to make an impact.
Rohit, meanwhile, carried on from his end to register his 31st 50-plus score in T20I cricket, surpassing Virat Kohli in all-time charts. He also went past Martin Guptill’s tally of 3,399 runs to become the leading run-scorer in the format.
He added 43 for the third wicket with Pant, and 25 with three overs with Ravindra Jadeja (16), before falling to Jason Holder for 64, striking seven fours and two sixes during his 44-ball stay.
Having walked in to bat with 5.1 overs to spare, Dinesh Karthik smashed an unbeaten 41 off 19 to lift the scoring rate. He was particularly severe against Holder and McCoy in the final two overs of the Indian innings, which yielded 36 combined as the visitors finished 190/6. Karthik struck four fours and two sixes in an entertaining display, while Ravichandran Ashwin too, timed one over deep mid-wicket in a 52-run unbroken stand from four overs.
Kyle Mayers got off the West Indies run-chase with two fours and a six, but couldn’t last long, with Arshdeep Sindh’s smart variations in length undoing the all-rounder. Holder, promoted to No.3 presumably to up the scoring, was castled by Jadeja for a four-ball duck, while Shamarh Brooks was foxed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s smart change of pace.
Ashwin and Jadeja kept the runs, and the mounting pressure helped the former get rid of Nicholas Pooran, leaving West Indies at 66.4 in 8.2 overs. The hosts, needing 109 off the final nine overs still stood a genuine chance, with power-hitters Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell at the crease.
However, wrist-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, introduced as late as the 12th over, castled Powell with a googly on the first ball of his spell, and Hetmyer played one straight to SKY at long-off off Ashwin in the next over to dash all hopes. Bishnoi and Arshdeep had Odean Smith and Hosein in quick succession, and Keemo Paul and Alzarri Joseph occupied the remainder of 3.3 overs only to delay the inevitable.
Karthik was named the Player of the Match for his game-changing blitz. The second T20I will be played at the Warner Park, Basseterre, St. Kitts on August 1.
India 190/6 in 20 overs (Sharma 64, Karthik 41*; Joseph 2-46) beat West Indies 122/8 in 20 overs (Brooks 20; Ashwin 2-22, Singh 2-24, Ravi Bishnoi 2-26) by 68 runs.