After an extremely one sided test series which India took 2-0(4), the action shifted to a format which evened the scales. The reigning World T20 champions took on the Men in Blue in the first of the 2 T20I. The last time these two teams had squared up, India suffered an emotional loss at home in the World T20 semifinal. What made this contest more exciting was that it was played in Florida, cricket’s newest market.
India won the toss and as expected, elected to bowl. What followed was nothing short of a brutal carnage. The Windies openers, Charles and Lewis led the hostile takeover as they took the attack to the bowlers from the word go. The very first over of the match bowled by Shami bled 17 runs and there was no looking back. Charles was bludgeoning the ball while Lewis was milking runs at ease. 78 runs from the power play and a whopping 132 from the first 10. If India thought that the storm was over, they were in for a huge surprise. Lewis took a liking for Binny and smacked 5 sixes of his only over, the eleventh of the innings. He completed a well-deserved century before falling to Jadeja. Russell, Pollard and Brathwaite chipped in with useful contributions as West Indies amassed a mammoth 245/6.
India had to conjure a lot of brilliance to pull off this heist. Rahane fell early courtesy a good low catch by Bravo and when Russell snarled Kohli inside the power play, the writing was on the wall for the Men in Blue. Rohit Sharma and Lokesh Rahul had other plans as they went about their jobs with utmost ease. Sharma was carting the bowlers to heaven and back while Rahul was stamping his increasing authority as a T20 batsman. Both reached their half centuries in good time and more importantly, they didn’t let the required rate get out of hand. Sharma’s departure in the 12th over brought Dhoni to the middle. Rahul was unfazed by the mounting pressure. He kept harassing the West Indian bowlers and completed his century of 46 balls. India did tremendously well to reduce the target to 8 of 6. What then should have been a routine chase especially with a centurion and a well set MSD in the middle turned out to be a nightmare. With 2 needed of 1, Bravo held his nerve as Dhoni was caught by Samuels at short third man to hand West Indies a thrilling 1 run win.
The action will resume less than 24 hours later as Lauderhill, Florida prepares for another edge of the seat thriller.