Kolkata, Nov 4: The steady hand of Dinesh Karthik proved crucial as India sealed a five-wicket win over West Indies in a low-scoring Twenty20 at Eden Gardens.
After two hammerings in the Tests and having fallen away badly to a 3-1 ODI series defeat, the Windies looked on course for another heavy reverse in the first of three T20s on Sunday.
With Virat Kohli rested, stand-in India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to field - a decision that was ultimately vindicated as the tourists could only stumble to 109-8 - their lowest total against India in the shortest format.
India's chase was in real strife at 45-4 midway through the eighth over but Karthik steadied the ship, striking three fours and a six in an unbeaten 31 from 34 deliveries as the hosts reached their meagre target with 13 balls remaining.
West Indies' toils with the bat were largely down to Kuldeep Yadav's 3-13, while debutants Khaleel Ahmed (1-16) and Krunal Pandya (1-15) also impressed.
Andre Russell's absence through injury was a huge miss for the Windies and the only batsman to make a score of any note was Fabian Allen who, on his international T20 debut, made the most of a poor drop by KL Rahul when he was on six to make 27 from 20.
Although the visitors' score looked far from enough, the express pace of another debutant, Oshane Thomas, gave them hope at the start of India's reply as the quick removed Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan.
His captain Carlos Brathwaite accounted for Rishabh Pant and Rahul, at which point India were in a bit of a mess, but experienced campaigner Karthik - alongside Krunal (21no off nine) - steered the hosts to a 1-0 series lead.