NOVEMBER 4, 2018
Brief Scorecard: India 110 for 5 (Karthik 31*, Krunal 21*, Brathwaite 2-11, Thomas 2-21) beat West Indies 109 for 8 (Allen 27, Kuldeep 3-13) by five wickets
November 4, 2018: India v West Indies, 1st T20I, Kolkata Dinesh Karthik played with a cool head to guide India’s chase – AFP
KOLKATA – West Indies’ next-gen stars, who were plucked out the Caribbean Premier League 2018, were tipped to challenge India more than their ODI and Test sides had done. Their batsmen cobbled only 109 for 8, but their bowlers, led by debutant quick Oshane Thomas, ambushed India’s top order and ran them close, before Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya, also on debut, ushered the hosts home.
Krunal, whose first touch with the ball was a fumble to the boundary in the game’s first over, hit the winning runs with an eye-catching chip over extra-cover. He had also played a part with the ball, claiming the wicket of his IPL team-mate Kieron Pollard while conceding only 15 runs.
It was anybody’s game when 21-year-old Thomas and his captain Carlos Brathwaite pinned India down to 45 for 4 inside eight overs. Thomas set the speegun on fire – like he had done at the CPL and in the ODI series – ripping out both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan with 147kph inswingers. It was the third time in three innings on this tour that he had nailed the stumps of Dhawan. Brathwaite then dug the ball into the pitch and had Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul holing out for 1 and 16 respectively.
Thomas continued to hit speeds north of 145kph, leaving Karthik and Manish Pandey ducking and weaving. At one point, Brathwaite even deployed Pollard at forward short leg. Karthik and Pandey saw him and Brathwaite off, putting on 38 for the fifth wicket off 45 balls.
Left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, who like Krunal bowled constricting lines, gave India further jitters, when he beat Pandey with dip and turn, drawing a return catch. At that point India needed 27 off 30 balls. While Karthik simply defended tightly or knocked the ball into the gaps, Krunal was more adventurous; even venturing a reverse-sweep off his third ball. They ultimately sealed the game with five wickets and 13 balls to spare in India’s first-ever T20I at home without MS Dhoni.
West Indies’ T20 line-up was dripping with flair and depth – they had hitters until No. 10 – but their troubles at the top set them up for failure. In the absence of their gun openers Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis, West Indies used a make-shift opening pair in Shai Hope, who wasn’t even in the T20I squad in the first place and was later added as the injured Andre Russell’s replacement, and Dinesh Ramdin, who had laboured to 24 off 30 balls in his most recent game as an opener, in the CPL final earlier this year. Before that, Ramdin had opened only twice in competitive cricket – both occasions came in 2007.