Marlon Samuels's century was the main highlights of the day © AFP (File Photo)
Marlon Samuels’s century was the main highlights of the day © AFP (File Photo)

Team India started off their brief return to the homeland on a horrendous note, as they lost the opening match of their five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against the West Indies at Kochi on Wednesday. Devarchit Varma brings the highlights of the match.

India dreamt of an ideal winning start to their build-up to the mega tournament in the ICC World Cup 2015. With a five-match home series against the West Indies, all eyes were on the Indian side, rather than the West Indies’s – as the hosts are the defending champions in the 50 over format and there is a lot of curiosity in terms of their build-up to the tournament early next year. However, Team India suffered a heavy loss by 124 runs and now find themselves under a little bit of pressure to bounce back.

The West Indies produced an impressive show – they batted with lot of application and with a total in excess of 300 they were always expected to bowl well. What was standout in their win was that they managed to bowl out India under 200 on a batting-friendly track, especially when they were not having Sunil Narine in their ranks. Marlon Samuels had a dream outing, and the Caribbean side made a strong statement. Let’s take a look at the highlights of the first ODI match:

West Indies’ impressive top-order: In what came as a surprise, Dwayne Bravo came out to open the innings and even batted extremely well to thwart the Indian seamers’ threat and provided his side a confident start to their all-important tour. He looked comfortable against the new ball and stroked four boundaries to indicate that he has it in him to open the innings. When he was dismissed, Darren Bravo did well to keep the scoreboard ticking and not allow the Indians to make further inroads into their line-up. The West Indies’ batsmen showed intent in the middle with the bat, and it surely is a good sign for them in the future if they manage to put on such performances.

Six and out – Darren Bravo and Dwayne Smith: It is a fact that both the Caribbean batsmen like to go for their shots but there was a eerie similarity in the manner in which they got out. Both, DM Bravo and Smith got out attempting a second six, which in a way indicated that the Caribbean batsmen tend to get carried away a little. While it will be only a coincidence if this happens again, but it should be a big lesson for the Caribbean batsmen as it is never wise to throw away the wickets.

Marlon Samuels- Denesh Ramdin record partnership: The two right-handers created record for the fourth wicket partnership for the West Indies against India in ODI cricket. They were not only expressive with the bat, but the way they went about their job was impressive. Both Samuels and Ramdin struck boundaries at regular intervals, and most importantly, they managed to find the gaps quite comfortably. It is indeed a good sign for the West Indies to see their middle-order coming to fore very early in a series.

It’s Marlon Samuels all the way: It was a dream day for the 33-year-old. The middle-order batsman stroked his sixth ODI century, became the 10th West Indian to complete 4,000 ODI runs, and the 8th batsman from the Caribbean to score more than 1,000 runs against India in the 50-over format. This is not all, his score of 126 not out off 116 balls is also his highest total in ODI cricket. The Indians might have hoped in the innings break that they had seen enough of Samuels in the day, but he had more damage to cause as he cleaned up Shikhar Dhawan and also got rid of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Indeed, a day to remember for Samuels.

Mohammed Shami’s lone battle: For the Indians, apart from Dhawan there was just one player in Mohammed Shami who created bit of an impact. With the ball he was successful getting four wickets, and towards the fag end of the innings when the entire country had lost hope of a turnaround, he played few strokes to keep the ardent of the fans entertained.

Ajinkya Rahane’s run-out: While it was important for India to not to lose too many wickets early on in a huge chase, it was also critical that there were not any soft dismissals. But when Rahane was dismissed – only because of poor calling between him and Dhawan – it somehow summed up India’s day. Rahane and Dhawan had batted with lot of ease till the former’s dismissal and once Rahane was out, the Indians lost the plot and folded for a paltry 197.

Virat Kohli disappoints: Admit it, for all of India, it is extremely important to see their batting star back among the run-scorers. There was certainly lot of interest on how Kohli will keep his best foot forward after a disastrous England tour and bounce back, playing in favourable conditions. But to the disappointment of many, the right-handed batsman failed to read a delivery that straightened in and was back in the hut sooner than expected.

Shikhar Dhawan’s half-century: Among the only few bright spots for India, Dhawan batted extremely well and spent enough time in the middle to garner confidence. Dhawan’s innings at Kochi and the knock that he played in the fourth ODI in England prove that he is getting back to form and the timing might just be right.

Complete coverage of India vs West Indies 2014

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)