Mohammed Siraj defended 15 off the last over as India eked out a narrow three-run win against the West Indies in the first ODI at Port of Spain on Friday. Akeal Hossein and Romario Shepherd had revived West Indies’s hopes with a thrilling, unbeaten 53-run seventh-wicket stand after the Indian bowlers had chipped away at its batting at regular intervals.
Needing 27 to win off 12 balls, West Indies took 12 off the penultimate over bowled by Prasidh Krishna; Romario Shepherd scoring 11 of those through a six and a four. That brought the equation down to 15 off six and 5 off the last ball. Mohammed Siraj targetted Shepherd with a yorker that the latter failed to put away as India huffed and puffed past the finish line.
The chase was set up by fifties from Kyle Mayers (75) and Brandon King (54). There were useful contributions from Shamarh Brooks and Nicholas Pooran but it wasn’t enough in the end. For India, Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur took two wickets each.
Earlier, Shubman Gill made a classy 64 in his ODI comeback while skipper Shikhar Dhawan missed out on a hundred by three runs before the West Indies restricted India to 308 for seven.
Gill, playing his first ODI since December 2020, played some sublime strokes in his 52-ball knock, while Dhawan (97 off 99 balls) took his time before changing gears.
Shreyas Iyer, who has had his troubles of late with the short ball, was back amongst the runs with a fluent 54 off 57 balls.
Gill and Dhawan shared an 119-run stand off 106 balls before the former was run out in the 18th over.
Gill was comfortable against the fast bowlers. He hooked Alzarri Joseph for a six before delighting the crowd with a perfectly placed punch off the back foot for a boundary. He was equally attractive playing the cover drives.
It took a brilliant direct hit from West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran to dismiss him. Gill’s maiden ODI fifty contained six fours and couple of sixes.
Dhawan, who had a lean run in England, paced his innings well, with Gill going strong at the other end. The southpaw collected 10 fours and three sixes. His go-to-shot was the slog sweep off left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie.
The other left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein impressed by getting the ball to turn sharply.
India was set for a 350-plus score. But Dhawan’s dismissal for the seventh time in the 90s led to a middle-order collapse, with the visitor reduced to 252 for five from 213 for one.
Sanju Samson (12) squandered a good opportunity to make an impact, while Suryakumar Yadav (13) fell to a loose shot. Deepak Hooda (27) and Axar Patel (21) took India past 300 with a 42-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Earlier, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out of the first two ODIs due to a knee injury. Meanwhile, Jason Holder, who made a return to the West Indies squad, also missed the opener after contracting COVID-19.