Florida, August 3: Debutant pacer Navdeep Saini claimed three wickets in an impressive spell as India beat West Indies by four wickets in their first T20 International match here on Saturday (August 3).
Opting to field, all the six Indian bowlers got at least a wicket apiece with Saini returning with figures of 3/17 in his debut match. The Indians were also helped by the reckless approach of West Indian batsmen as they crawled to 95 for 9 on a rather slow pitch.
But India too made a massive struggle of the chase as they lost six wickets while achieving the target. India now lead the three-match series 1-0 and the second game will be played at the same venue on Sunday (August 4 from 8 PM IST onwards).
Earlier, 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 Washington Sundar (1/18) and got a wicket in the second ball itself with John Campbell slapping straight to deep midwicket fielder Krunal Pandya.
The other opener Evin Lewis fell in the second over with pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (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.
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 -- 6th -- as they were reduced to 33 for 5 at the end of Powerplay.
Pollard and Brathwaite curbed their attacking instincts for a while and played some sensible cricket to remain united for eight wickets during which they added 34 runs.
Brathwaite and Sunil Narine got dismissed in the 15th and 16th overs respectively as West Indies could not touch 100 in the end. And it proved only a total that could stretch India but not one to prevent them from touching the tape.