Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik (31*) and debutant Krunal Pandya held their nerve to take India home comfortably after an early stutter against Windies in the first T20I at the iconic Eden Gardens, Kolkatta, last evening. Chasing a slim target of 110 to win, the men in blue didn’t had the best of the starts as they lose their star batsmen – captain Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan cheaply, courtesy some terrific pace bowling from young Oshane Thomas.
Earlier, wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav produced another brilliant performance with the ball as he picked up a three-for to restrict Windies 109/8 in 20 overs. Kuldeep led the Indian bowlers’ fine show to restrict West Indies to 109 for eight after stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma opted to field on a dew-laden Eden Gardens.
After Thomas’ fiery spell, Windies captain Carlos Brathwaite made the life miserable for the Indian batsmen as he accounted for the wickets of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. As the visitors kept chipping in with regular strikes, experienced batter Karthik maintained his cool and stayed away from any fancy shots to avoid any more damage.
Playing his first T20I in the coveted India jersey, elder Pandya (Krunal) also passed the litmus test at the international stage with some useful contribution with both bat and bowl.
The Ahmedabad-born cricketer bowled a fine spell of 1/15 in his quota of four over before playing a handy cameo of unbeaten 21 off 9 balls to seal the victory for the hosts. This was India’s first win against the World T20 champions since 2014, spanning five matches.