Updated: Sat, 23 Jul 2022 08:10 AM IST
Shikhar Dhawan returned to his form and made a well-crafted 97 while Shubhman Gill made a classy 64 in his ODI comeback before India pulled off a last-over thriller against West Indies in the series opener at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad. The West Indies needed 15 off the final over for a record chase at Queens Park Oval but Mohammed Siraj was able to stop a rampaging Romario Shepherd (38 not out off 25) and lead his team to a 3-run victory over the mighty Windies.
At the top of the order, Kyle Mayers (75 off 68) and Shamarh Brooks (46 off 61) raised West Indies' hopes with an 117-run stand for the second wicket before Brandon King (54 off 66) took the game deep. In the end, the West Indies fell short and ended at 305 for six. Shardul Thakur had struck twice earlier in the chase to bring back India into the game as he removed the set duo of Mayers and Brooks.
The highly rated Mayers played a few spectacular strokes in his innings, including a one-legged pull shot off Siraj. Skipper Nicholas Pooran (25 off 26) came in and punished Prasidh Krishna with two flat sixes over deep square leg and deep midwicket.
The hosts needed 60 off the last 90 balls and the 56-run stand between King and Akeal Hosein (32 not out off 32) kept India on the edge. However, Yuvzvendra Chahal came up with a timely breakthrough to make the job tougher for the West Indies. The home team was kept in the chase by Shepherd and Hosein whose valiant partnership went in vain.
Earlier, Gill, playing his first ODI since December 2020, played some sublime strokes while Dhawan took his time before changing gears. Openers Dhawan (97 off 99 balls) and Gill (64 off 53) shared an 119-run stand before the West Indies fought back to restrict India to 308 for seven.
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. The opening duo of Gill and Dhawan provided the launchpad for a 350-plus total before the former was run out in the 18th over against the run of play. It took a brilliant direct hit from West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran to dismiss Gill. It was Gill's maiden ODI fifty in what was his fourth game.
India were 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 visitors 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.
(With Agency Inputs)