Rohit Sharma hit a responsible 72 under pressure as India survived a top-order collapse to post a thrilling one-wicket win over the West Indies in the opening one-dayer on Tuesday.
India were reeling at 59-5 following Kemar Roach’s three-wicket burst and Andre Russell’s double strike before reaching the 212-run target with seven balls to spare in front of 45 000 spectators at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack.
Sharma came to his team’s rescue with an 83-run stand for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (38) in the day-night game, which was held up for nearly five minutes during India’s innings due to disturbances in the stands.
Man-of-the-match Sharma, returning to the side after recovering from a finger injury, then added 42 valuable runs with Vinay Kumar (18) to help his team to a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
He cracked one six and three fours in his ninth half-century in one-dayers.
The hosts needed nine runs to win in the last two overs before Umesh Yadav hit the winning boundary off seamer Darren Sammy as India posted their 10th successive one-day win at home.
“It’s good to win another nail-biter. Whatever you tell No. 10 or No. 11, they always do what they want to do. I just told them to play till the end,” said India skipper Virender Sehwag.
“Rohit and Jadeja batted really well in that partnership and we should have won it easily from there, but it’s still good to end up winning. We hope to learn from our batting mistakes in coming games.”
The last spark
Paceman Roach removed Parthiv Patel, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli in his sharp opening spell before Russell accounted for Sehwag (20) and Suresh Raina to put pressure on India.
India earlier put in a disciplined bowling performance to restrict the West Indies to a modest total despite Darren Bravo’s impressive half-century.
Left-handed Bravo — who hit two hundreds in the recent Test series against the hosts — top-scored for the West Indies with a 74-ball 60 for his sixth half-century in one-day internationals.
“Every time you lose it is quite disappointing. We just didn’t have the last spark to take us past the finish line,” said West Indies captain Sammy.
“The opening bowlers did well to give us a start and we fought all the way to the end but it wasn’t enough. We even conceded 23 extras, but I would like to commend the boys.”
Bravo, who survived a difficult caught-and-bowled chance off off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on 26, was bowled by part-time spinner Raina in the 35th over after hitting six fours.
The West Indies were struggling at 52-3 before Bravo steadied the innings with a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket with Danza Hyatt (31).
The tourists failed to build on Bravo’s effort and they added just 44 runs in the last 10 overs, with tailender Russell making a 20-ball 22.
Indian pacemen Yadav and Varun Aaron each bagged two wickets.
The tourists raced to 52 off 10 overs after being put in to bat but lost top-three batsmen Lendl Simmons (19), Adrian Barath (17) and Marlon Samuels (10) in the process, with Vinay Kumar, Yadav and Aaron each taking a wicket. — AFP