Skipper Virat Kohli scored a masterful 94 as India comfortably chased down a seemingly stiff target of 208 in the first T-20 against the West Indies in Hyderabad on Friday.
India traditionally tend to be slow starters- Bangladesh beat them in Delhi last month in that series opener, but with Kohli back in the squad, they didn’t falter against the T20 world champions in Gachibowli.
Here are our talking points from the game.
1. King Kohli does it again
We’ve called him plenty of times by that moniker on this blog, and this was an another performance showing why he deserved that title. Kohli was 20 (20) at one stage in this chase, but finished on 94* (50) as India made light work of a mammoth 200+ chase, coasting home with 6 balls to spare. He was particularly severe on poor Kesrick Williams and even did the note book celebration– the same that Williams had done when he dismissed Kohli two years ago in Jamaica.
2. Rahul & Pant play vital supporting roles
As good as Kohli’s innings was, India would perhaps not have chased this down, if KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant hadn’t play the roles they did. Rahul’s aggressive 62 allowed Kohli to take his time to settle in, and Pant’s quickfire 18 ensured that the Men in Blue did not lose momentum when the Karnataka opener fell.
3. A hat-trick of drops for India.
India pride themselves on fielding, but were poor in Hyderabad. Unbelievably, they dropped three in a row of the first 3 balls of the 17th over- bowled by Deepak Chahar- Washington Sundar being the culprit on the first occasion and Rohit Sharma on the other two. The low floodlights at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium perhaps didn’t help India’s cause but they will be the first to admit that they should have done better in the field.
4. Ravindra Jadeja economical with the ball.
On a pitch that saw more than 400 runs being scored, Jadeja’s figures of 1/30 were excellent. He halted the Windies’ momentum in the middle stages and also claimed the wicket of debutant Brandon King.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar also fared well in his comeback game until he was taken apart by Jason Holder in the final over.
5. Windes bowlers very disappointing.
At the interval, the West Indies would have been quietly confident of taking a 1-0 lead in this series after putting up an imposing total of 207- the second highest T-20 total made by a visiting team in India. However their bowlers, with the exception of Sheldron Cottrell, were poor and failed to stem the flow of runs. Khary Pierre and Kesrick Williams were expected to support Cottrell, but instead got taken to the cleaners.
The Windies have all the ingredients of a good T-20 batting side, but their bowling department needs to improve if they have to defend their title in Australia next year.
The second T-20 international will be played at Thiruvananthapuram on December 8, Sunday.