After being asked to chase a mammoth total of 245, thanks to a brilliant century by Evin Lewis, by West Indies, India fell short by 1 run in the 1st T20I at Florida on Saturday. KL Rahul's valiant knock of 110 runs went in vain as the men in blue failed to score 8 runs off the last over from Bravo.
Brief Scores: West Indies 245/6 in 20 overs (Evin Lewis 100(49), Johnson Charles 79(33); Jasprit Bumrah 2/47) beat India 244/4 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 110(51)*, Rohit Sharma 62(28); Dwayne Bravo 2/37) by 1 run.
No Gayle? Better call Charles
After MS Dhoni opted to bowl first, Johnson Charles and Evin Lewis got their team off to a fantastic start. The West Indies team were without their star man Chris Gayle, who picked up an injury, and their Test skipper Jason Holder. However, Charles did not let the crowd miss Gayle.
The 27-year-old went after the Indian attack from the first over. Mohammed Shami's third ball of the match was deposited in the stands for a big six, and he followed it up with two more boundaries in that over, and that was the end of Shami's first spell. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah did not fare any better. Soon Dhoni brought in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and both were greeted to the crease with open arms by Charles. The pitch had very little to offer for the bowlers and Charles made merry under the Florida sun.
Mohammed Sami, who was removed after his first over, came back in 10th over and dismissed Charles with a full delivery. Charles was dismissed for 79, off just 32 balls, and West Indies lost their first wicket after a mammoth opening partnership of 126 runs.
Lewis takes over
Evin Lewis was relatively the more circumspect batsman in the opening stand, but he took over once Charles departed to the stands. After all his bowlers failed to stop the flow of runs, Dhoni turned to Stuart Binny and what followed will be etched in the memory of both Binny and Lewis for a long time. Lewis hit him for five sixes in an over which also had a wide delivery. After that 32-run over, Binny was relegated to the boundary ropes by the Indian skipper, almost vowing to never let him anywhere near the bowling crease.
Lewis brought up his blazing century in the 16th over, but he was dismissed in the next ball by Jadeja. Although Lewis departed in the 16th over, West Indies were already well on their way to a mammoth total. They lost three wickets in the last over of their innings, but still managed to reach 245 runs.
Bravo the brilliant
You cannot just keep this man out of the game. Dwayne Bravo might have faced just one delivery while batting, but he showed his class when West Indies took to the field to defend their score. India
Bravo provided that break with an inspiring piece of fielding in the last ball of the third over. Andre Russel dug in a short delivery outside the off stump to Ajinkya Rahane, who came into the team in place of Shikhar Dhawan, and the right-hander played a ramp shot down to the third man, but it went very fine. Bravo had a to run for a long while before he launched himself, parallel to the ground, and took a flying catch to dismiss the Indian opener with just 31 runs on the board.
If that was not enough, Bravo came on to bowl in the fifth over and dismissed the dangerous Virat Kohli with a bouncer. All of a sudden India were looking down the barrel at 48/2, and with their best batsman back in the hut.
So close, yet so far for KL Rahul
After losing two early wickets, the Indian innings was stabilized by an 89-run partnership between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. The duo not only stopped the flow of
KL Rahul took over from Rohit Sharma, and the classical batsman showed that he can step on the gas when required. He was dropped by Russell in the 9th over, and he made that chance count. The Karnataka-born batsman went after Sunil Narine and contributed massively in giving a figure to the spinner we rarely encounter—0/50 in 3 overs.
He brought up his fifty in the 12th over with a delightful shot over backward point off Pollard, and soon MS Dhoni also went up through his gears at the other end as well. Rahul completed his century in the 19th over with another massive six, and India required just 8 runs to win in the last over. However, Bravo bowled a brilliant last over, and it came down to 2 runs off the last ball. Bravo took his time, spoke with nearly everyone on the ground, and then ran in to ball a slow cutter outside the off stump. Dhoni swung his bat at the ball, and it went straight to Marlon Samuels at short