India vs West Indies, India, West Indies, Navdeep Saini
Saini claimed three wickets in an impressive spell as India restricted a reckless West Indies to a paltry 95/9. @ AFP

India survived a slight scare but managed to register a four-wicket victory in the opening three-match Twenty20 International series against West Indies at Lauderhill in Florida on Saturday.

West Indies were restricted to a paltry 95/9 after being put into bat on a damp pitch. Pacer Navdeep Saini had a dream debut picking up three wickets, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar added two as the new-ball bowlers ran riot.

India didn’t look in a really hurry during the chase, but didn’t look comfortable either. Shikhar Dhawan, returning from a thumb injury that ruined his World Cup 2019, flopped on comeback after he was trapped for 1 on the last ball of the second over by Sheldon Cottrell.

West Indies then crawled back into the game courtesy, Sunil Narine, who pocketed two big wickets in Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant in the seventh over.

India vs West Indies, 1st T20I: As it happened

Rohit was the first to go. He decided to clear the fence on the on-side but failed to get enough elevation and ended up finding Kieron Pollard. Pant threw his wicket in the next delivery after he top-edged a slog sweep that was taken by Cottrell stationed at deep square leg.

Captain Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey restored sanity in the Indian innings. However, their 32-run partnership was cut short by Keemo Paul, who deceived Pandey (19) with a good yorker.

Cottrell’s salute was on show for the second time after he claimed the big wicket of Kohli. He banged the slower delivery into the pitch which foxed Kohli, who played way too early, got a top edge that flew straight up to mid-wicket where Pollard completed the catch. Kohli too added 19.

Krunal Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja then put India on course for victory. However, the elder Pandya became Paul’s second victim in the 16th over and departed for 12. Washington Sundar finished off the chase in style smashing a huge hit over long-on off Paul as India won the match with 22 balls to spare.

Earlier, Saini claimed three wickets in an impressive spell as India restricted a reckless West Indies to a paltry 95/9.

Opting to field, all the six Indian bowlers got at least a wicket apiece with Saini returning with figures of 3/17.

There was no substantive partnership in the West Indies innings with the highest being the 34 between captain Carlos Brathwaite (9) and top-scorer Kieron Pollard (49) for the sixth wicket. Nicholas Pooran (20) was the only other West Indies batsman to score double digit figures.

India opened bowling with off-spinner Sundar (1/18) and got a wicket in the second ball itself with John Campbell slapping straight to deep midwicket fielder Krunal.

The other opener Evin Lewis fell in the second over with pacer Bhuvneshwar (2/19) beating him with a knuckle ball to rattle his timber. Both the openers failed to open their accounts as the West Indies were reduced to 8/2.

India vs West Indies, 1st T20I: SCORECARD

Despite the two quick wickets, the West Indians continued to be aggressive in their approach and Saini exploited the situation by claiming two wickets in two balls in the fifth over.

Pooran, who was looking dangerous after hitting two sixes, went for a big shot but the ball ballooned up in the air for wicketkeeper Rishab Pant to take an easy catch. Shimron Hetmyer (0) then dragged the ball onto the stump for Saini’s second wicket.

West Indies procession to the dressing room continued with Rovman Powell (4) felling to Khaleel Ahmed (1/8) the next over the sixth of the innings – as they were reduced to 33 for 5 at the end of Powerplay.

Brathwaite and Sunil Narine got dismissed in the 15th and 16th overs respectively as West Indies failed to touch even 100 in the end.

Brief scores: India 98/6 in 17.2 overs (Rohit Sharma 24; Sunil Narin 2/14, Sheldon Cottrell 2/20) beat West Indies 95/9 (Kieron Pollard 49; Navdeep Saini 3/17, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/19) by 4 wickets