On Thursday, 3rd August, 2023, the West Indies vs India T20I commenced. The first match of the five match series was held in Brian Lara Stadium at Tarouba (Trinidad and Tobago). The opening match witnessed WI's thrilling victory over India by 4 runs giving a 1-0 lead in the series.
India was able to bundle up West Indies at 149/6 with the strong bowling. India put to bowl first, proved to be a good strategy initially as Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed both WI openers Kyle Mayers and Brandon King in the fifth over of the game.
Nicholas Pooran then made a strong entrance, starting with a boundary at mid-off, on the delivery of Chahal's over. He continued to find boundaries against Axar Patel, driving one into the stands at deep mid-wicket and pushing another through the covers for four. Later, Kuldeep Yadav was brought in, and he justified Captain Hardik Pandya's decision by dismissing Johnson Charles for 3 in the 8th over.
Next up was Rovman Powell, the right-handed batter and captain. In the 15th over, Pandya delivered a crucial breakthrough by removing the well-set batter Pooran, who had scored 41 runs.
After Shimron Hetmyer's entry, he quickly added a boundary to his name. Rovman Powell picked up the pace and started consistently hitting boundaries against the Indian bowlers. Powell managed to score 13 runs off Arshdeep Singh's over. However, Arshdeep made a comeback and took the wickets of Hetmyer and Powell in the 19th over, though he also delivered four wides. In the final over, Mukesh Kumar delivered precise yorkers, limiting West Indies to 149/6 in their 20 overs.
In the conclusion of WI innings, Rovman Powell scored the highest for West Indies, hitting 48 runs off 32 balls, while Nicholas Pooran contributed a solid 41 runs in 34 balls. Arshdeep Singh and Yuzvendra Chahal each took two wickets for India, while Kuldeep Yadav and Captain Hardik Pandya secured one wicket each.
India's pursuit of 150 runs began on a shaky note when Shubman Gill got stumped by Nicholas Pooran off Akael Hosein's delivery, scoring only three runs off nine balls. The team was 5/1 in 2.2 overs. Suryakumar Yadav stepped in next and swiftly launched an assault on Akael Hosein and Alzarri Joseph, hitting boundaries.
In the fifth over, Kishan was caught by WI skipper Powell at mid-on off McCoy's delivery, scoring only six runs. India was 28/2 in 4.5 overs. Debutant Tilak Varma impressed with a six and another maximum off Alzarri's deliveries. India reached 45/2 at the end of the powerplay, and the 50-run mark in 7 overs.
In the eighth over, Tilak attacked Romario Shepherd, hitting a four and a six. Suryakumar was dismissed by Jason Holder for 21 (2 fours, 1 six). India was 67/3 in 9.2 overs. By the end of the 10th over, India reached 70/3, with Hardik Pandya (2*) and Tilak (33*) unbeaten. In the 11th over, Tilak's entertaining 39-run knock (2 fours, 3 sixes) ended as Shepherd took the wicket. India was 77/4 in 11 overs.
Hardik and Sanju Samson's partnership helped India reach 100 runs in 14.1 overs. Pandya's four and Samson's six reduced the pressure, and India reached 113/4 in 15 overs, with Pandya (19*) and Samson (12*) unbeaten. The game changed in the 16th over as Pandya was bowled for 19 by Holder, and Samson was run out by Kyle Mayers for 12. India was 113/6 in 16 overs, needing 37 runs in four overs.
The 17th over gave away only five runs, leaving India with 32 runs to win in the final three overs.Axar's six in the next over brought 11 runs, boosting India's hopes with 21 needed in two overs. The bowler got caught by Hetmyer on the first ball of the 18th over, leaving India at 129/7 in 18.1 overs. Arshdeep hit two back-to-back fours, leaving India with 10 to get in the final over. Kuldeep was bowled by Shepherd for 3, making it 140/8 in 19.1 overs. Arshdeep's 11-run cameo ended with a runout, leaving India at 144/9, requiring six in one ball, which they couldn't make.
Holder (2/19), McCoy (2/28), and Shepherd (2/33) were the top bowlers for WI, with Hosein also taking a wicket.
Brief score: West Indies 149/6 (Rovman Powell 48, Nicholas Pooran 41; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-22) won over India: 145/9 (Tilak Varma 39, Suryakumar Yadav 21, Jason Holder 2/19).
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