Vineet Ramakrishnan/Zeecric Bureau
New Delhi: India on Saturday won by 16 runs in the tour opener Twenty20 international fixture against West Indies at Trinidad.
Subramanium Badrinath and Harbhajan Singh were the chief architect in the team’s first ever victory against Windies in Twenty20 format. Badrinath scored a patient 47 ball 43 helping India reach a competitive 159. Later Harbhajan Singh weaved his magic on the damp pitch taking two crucial wickets at an economy of 6.25.
A late surge by Christopher Barnwell (34 of 16 balls) excited the crowd a bit, but it was a bit too late coming as India were already eyeing victory even before Barnwell came to the stage.
Praveen Kumar had dismissed the West Indian captain, Darren Sammy for a duck, thus effectively sealing the match for the visitors.
Earlier, two quick wickets in the form of Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo by Harbhajan in the same over had put India in control of the match. Already reeling behind the required run rate, West Indies were in a desperate need for some fireworks but both in-form batsmen, Bravo and Samuels failed to capitalize on their respective starts.
Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo had joined forces as they counter attacked with some lovely straight drives to the fence. But the Indian bowlers, particularly Harbhajan Singh and Yusuf Pathan, tightened the noose not giving any room for the batsmen to work around.
Chasing a total of 159 West Indies were off to a slow start as Indian bowlers stuck to their line and length not allowing the Windies batsmen to settle down. Ravichandran Ashwin struck first, when he dismissed the highly rated Lendl Simmons off an off spinner.
Wicket Keeper batsman, Andre Fletcher was next to go as in order to up the run rate, he missed to connect the wild swing off a yorker bowled by Munaf Patel.
In the first innings, a late flurry by Yusuf Pathan and Harbhajan Singh ensured that India reached a competitive score of 159 for 6 despite some early setbacks. The last 5 overs saw India amass 71 runs as West Indies failed to maintain the momentum they got through some quick wickets early on in the match.
Rohit Sharma and S. Badrinath stuck it out on a tricky track steadying the Indian Innings after an early collapse. They put on a partnership of 71 runs. Sharma (26) was more attacking of the both, occasionally going over the top with lucid timing whereas Badrinath (43) rotated the strike regularly, putting away the bad deliveries.
Ever reliable S. Badrinath had got a life as Ravi Rampaul bowled a no-ball which was stuck firmly straight to Marlon Samuels by Badri. After the departure of Suresh Raina, West Indies were in control bowling a disciplined line as Badrinath and Rohit Sharma tried to string together a partnership. Even Sharma was dropped on 8 by Ashley Nurse.
After the exploits of Darren Sammy, Devendra Bishoo and Nurse kept up the pressure as the Indian batsmen failed to find any boundaries.
Earlier, West Indian Captain, Darren Sammy was on fire as he picked up 4 wickets in 4 overs to put India on the back foot. He scalped Virat Kohi and Parthiv Patel with consecutive deliveries before getting the big wicket of Captain Suresh Raina.
Kohli and Patel had tried to steady the innings with some lusty blows over the top taking full advantage of the fielding restrictions. They were particularly severe on Andre Russell milking 20 runs from his over.
Sammy had given the Windies a perfect start when Shikhar Dhawan got out cheaply trying to avoid a rising ball from Sammy for a score of 5 giving the keeper, Andre Fletcher a simple catch.
Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel opened the batting for India as Ravi Rampaul started the proceedings for the hosts. Both had started off rather cautiously.
Earlier, West Indies Captain Darren Sammy won the toss and elected to bowl first against India in the tour opener T20 international at Trinidad.
The depleted Indian team led by Suresh Raina has included Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel as openers. S Badrinath and Rohit Sharma have also found a place in the eleven.
West Indies: Lendl Simmons, Andre Fletcher (wk), Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Danza Hyatt, Darren Sammy (C), Christopher Barnwell, Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo, Ravi Rampaul.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel (wk), Suresh Raina (C), Virat Kohli, S Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, R Ashwin.