Rohit Sharma’s return blazed a trail for India as the Men in Blue opened the T20I series with a comprehensive 68-run win on Friday. The skipper scored his first fifty of the year followed by a brilliant cameo from Dinesh Karthik, who has developed into an excellent finisher in the shortest format.
Riding on their super noses, India set a tough target of 191 runs for the hosts. Finally, India’s 190/6 is the highest T20 score at the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium which was hosting the first international match.
In reply, West Indies got off to a brilliant start. Opening batsmen Shamra Brooks and Kyle Meyers combined for 22 off 8 balls, before the pair’s battle was ruined by Arsdeep Singh. Once India got the breakthrough, the hosts’ batting line-up began to crumble and were eventually restricted to 122/8.
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As India take a 1-0 lead in the series, let’s take a look at the talking points of the game:
Rohit Sharma’s latest comeback: A much-needed break from ODIs as the hitman returned on Friday. Rohit returned to lead the team and opened the five-match series with a brilliant half-century. Amazingly, it was his first half-century that year. Wickets kept falling at the other end, but Rohit was determined and played the captain’s knock. The Indian captain scored 64 runs off 44 balls with the help of 7 fours and 2 sixes before losing his wicket to Jason Holder for 15.Th finished
DK – Finisher: Dinesh Karthik once again justified his place in the team with a brilliant unbeaten innings of 41 runs, helping India post 190 runs in 20 overs. At one point it looked like India might put something in the line of 145-150. But Dinesh Karthik had different plans. As usual he launched his attack in the death overs. He hit two fours and a six in the last over of the Indian innings, scoring 14 runs off just 4 balls. Karthik scored 41 runs off just 19 balls with the help of four fours and two sixes.
Spinners marveled: India fielded three quality spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Bishnoi and in turn, the trio shared 5 wickets between them. After a flying start, Windies’ batting collapsed like a house of cards and these three bowlers did most of the damage. Ashwin posted figures of 2/22, getting rid of captain Nicholas Pooran (18) and Shimron Hetmyer (14). Bishnoi (2/13) dismissed Rowman Powell (14) and Odin Smith (0) while Jadeja (1/24) dismissed Jason Holder for a wicket.
Arshad made his presence felt: Social media was buzzing with reactions when netizens found out that Arshad was in the playing XI. He may have missed out on his ODI debut cap, but he made a promising comeback in the first T20I. He received a bit of a stiff reception from Kyle Mears, hitting a boundary after a first-ball six. But she was quick enough to take off the Windies opener and give him back. In his second spell, he knocked Aqeel Hussain with a picture-perfect yorker and stunned the onlookers. Arsdeep returned figures of 2 after conceding 24 runs in 4 overs. So far, he has 4 wickets in 2 matches.
Another failure of Shreyas Iyer: Iyer had a great start to the T20I series as he got a 4-ball duck at the Brian Lara Stadium on Friday. The right-handed batsman has not been in his best form for a long time. It has been more than 5 months since he scored half a century. He scored an unbeaten 73 against Sri Lanka in Dharamsala. In the last four innings, they have scored in double figures only once. The Mumbai batsman should be back among the runs before he misses his flight to Australia for the much-awaited T20 World Cup.
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