The West Indies were expected to do well in the T20 internationals, but a five-wicket loss in the first outing of the three-match rubber against dominant India showed the script might not change when the two sides clash in the second contest at the Ekana International Cricket stadium here on Tuesday.
India have won the test series 2-0 and ODIs 3-1 in an utterly lopsided fashion. On Sunday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the current World T20I champions were restricted to a paltry 109/8 by Rohit Sharma and Company.
Windies bowlers did well to reduce India to 54/4 at the halfway stage before seasoned stumper Dinesh Karthik (31 not out; 34 b, 3×4, 1×6) and debutant Krunal Pandya (21 not out; 9b, 3×4) got the home side over the line.
India’s last win against the West Indies before Sunday came was way back on March 23, 2014 in the World T20 in Bangladesh.
The win for India came despite the absence of talismanic regular captain Virat Kohli.
Rohit, who has an enviable record at the Eden, failed on Sunday and would look to make up for it with a big score on Tuesday.
Besides Rohit, opener Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Manish Pandey also had a bad day in office in the series-opener.
Karthik kept his cool and played a crucial knock along with an unbeaten cameo from Krunal to steer India home in 17.5 overs.
Lucknow will be hosting its first international match at the newly-built Ekana stadium.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav was at his lethal best on Sunday with superb figures of 3/13 from his four overs, while left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed (1/16) and Pandya (1/15) were also impressive.
India will also be bolstered by the return of pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the first T20 due to gastric problems.
West Indies, on the other hand, would be desperate to get back to the winning ways. The shortest format is where they do well on a regular basis with their players plying their trade in T20 leagues around the globe as well as the Caribbean Premier League.
The return of big names such as Kieran Pollard and Darren Bravo failed to make any significant impact on Sunday.
Andre Russell’s injury, which ruled him out of the series, also dented their chances.
Young pacer Oshane Thomas (2/21), who made his debut in Kolkata, impressed a lot and heckled the Indian openers with his pace.
India – Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (Wicket-keeper), Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, K Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem.
West Indies – Carlos Brathwaite (Captain), Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (Wicket-keeeper) Obed McCoy, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas