In absence of Dhoni and Kohli, it was the KKR captain who took the lead for the hosts
The flat tracks of Eden Garden promised a run feast. But the spectators at the stadium were treated to anything but that as the 2016 T20 World Cup champions slumped again to another defeat. Their Indian tour continues to be an asking campaign.
Apart from an initial scare in the second innings, India had little trouble in containing the Windies as they won the first of the 3-match T20 series with relative ease.
It was West Indies’ top order that failed in the bid to give their team a perfect start. Prior to the match, the visitors were uplifted by the return of T20 specialists in Darren Smith, Kevin Pollard, and Carlos Brathwaite. However, the new arrivals were of little help to save their team’s disastrous campaign in India.
Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah took the honours early on, sending opener Denesh Ramdin and Shimron Hetmyer back to the dressing room.
However, it was Kuldeep Yadav who impressed the most for the home side as he ripped through West Indies’ middle order. He scalped the 3 crucial wickets of Darren Bravo, Rovman Powell and Carlos Brathwaite to ensure the batting side did not get back in the contention.
For the debutante Krunal Pandya, it was an eventful evening, as he managed to return back with a tally of 1/15.
The most comical moment of the match came when Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer were involved in a funny run out. After flicking Khaleel Ahmed’s delivery, Hope signalled Hetmyer for a quick single. The latter started off but later hesitated to take a run, again returning back to the non-striking position. However, an oblivious Hope had his eyes fixed on the ball and thus failed to watch his partner’s retreat.
As a result, both the batsman were on the same side of the pitch, thus leading to a humorous dismissal of Shai Hope.
Had it not been for the heroics of the tail-enders, Fabien Allen, Keemo Paul and Khary Pierre, the visitors would have bundled way earlier. The trio put up a crucial 46-run stand to see West Indies ended with a score of 104/10.
India started the second innings in an awkward fashion. Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan both had a poor outing as they returned early on in the match. The former was declared out after successful DRS review. Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul too could not make a mark on the proceedings. Soon India was reeling at 45/4.
With Kohli and Dhoni being rested for the shortest format of the campaign, the responsibility now lied with Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey. Dinesh Karthik was impressive in particular. He scored a crucial knock of 31, as if he knew the track like the back of his hand, being the captain of the home IPL side. The pair recorded a 38-run stand between them, guiding India out of troubled waters. Even after Pandey got out at 83, Karthik stayed put on the crease and joined forces with Krunal Pandya to conclude the innings. India ultimately won by 5 wickets.