India rout Windies to take 1-0 lead

West Indies’ difficulties in the 50-over format persisted on Thursday (July 27), as India won the first ODI at Bridgetown, Barbados, with relative ease. West Indies’s collapse was hastened by Kuldeep Yadav’s four-wicket haul and Ravindra Jadeja’s three-wicket haul. The visitors were eventually bowled out for a pitiful 114 runs in 23 overs after losing their final seven wickets for an addition of only 26 runs. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli did not bat in their regular positions throughout the chase, allowing the others further up the order to experiment with their batting order. 

On a pitch that favored spinners, they lost half of their team in the process, but Ishan Kishan’s 46-ball 52 helped India in the chase, and they eventually won with 27.1 overs left.

Using a self-assured pull shot against Dominic Drakes, Kishan scored his maiden boundary in the opening over. Shubman Gill’s first runs were the result of a top edge off Jayden Seales that netted him a four. When Gill got an outside edge off Seales, the openers were developing a strong relationship, and Brandon King made a diving catch at second slip. Marais Erasmus, the third umpire, considered a number of angles before declaring the hitter out. After a hat-trick of ducks in his previous ODI appearances, Suryakumar Yadav entered the game at third base and flicked Drakes for a four to record his first runs. In addition to hitting a straight four off a full delivery from Drakes, Kishan was quick to read the lengths and played the draw to put away a short ball.

Suryakumar played his preferred pick-up lap shot for a six over fine-leg after connecting with a cover drive off Seales for his second four. As India reached 50 in 10 overs, the pair continued to score steadily by combining singles with their boundary smashes. In response to Suryakumar’s sweep off Gudakesh Motie for a boundary, the spinner bowled it much slower, causing the batter to be out leg-before and costing India a review. While this was going on, Kishan was playing shots all around, hitting two boundaries with a cut-off Yannic Cariah and a one-handed shot over mid-off. Also moved up the order was Hardik Pandya, who only lasted a short time before being run out at the non-striker’s end after a Kishan hit deflected off Cariah’s hands and onto the stumps.

After catching a full throw from Cariah for his opening six, Kishan then hit a hard shot past Motie for another four. He also received a stroke of luck when Kyle Mayers dropped him off Motie as he attempted to draw, and a little while later, he hauled up a 44-ball fifty. However, Kishan was unsuccessful in his attempt to play a heave off Motie, and shortly after, Shardul Thakur also left, bringing Rohit to the crease. The captain and Jadeja assisted his squad in completing the task without additional incident, giving India a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Earlier, after skipper Rohit decided to bowl due to the extra bounce offered by the ground, Pandya and rookie Mukesh Kumar worried the West Indies openers with deliveries that got off from a length. When Mayers attempted to accelerate the ball, the bounce got the better of him, and he gave Rohit Sharma a straightforward catch at mid-on, giving Pandya the maiden wicket. Alick Athanaze and Brandon King formed a reliable duo as the two batters scored a couple of boundaries. Before hitting a short, wide ball from Mukesh to Jadeja, who expertly timed his jump at backward point, Athanaze smashed a pick-up shot for a six off Pandya and added three more fours to his score. Soon after, King was removed by Thakur as West Indies stumbled to 45/3.

After a protracted absence, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope tried to rehabilitate as they stretched their stand over 40. Hetmyer pulled a Jadeja delivery to fine leg for his first four while Hope hit a few fours off short balls from Umran Malik. However, Jadeja, who had a shaky start, found his footing and put West Indies in even more difficulties. When Hetmyer attempted a paddle shot and was bowled, his innings was over. Rovman Powell and Romario Shepherd were both bowled by Jadeja in the same over as a consequence of Gill and Virat Kohli’s superb catches off edges to first and second slip.

When Kuldeep scored two swift runs, West Indies fell even further behind. The chinaman spinner effectively used the DRS to trap Drakes with a googly and then bowl Cariah with a wrong’un. Hope, on the other end, stared helplessly as West Indies utterly lost their bearings. With the tail batting alongside him, the West Indies captain attempted to farm strike and even hit a six off Jadeja to reach the 40s. However, a failed reverse sweep led to his demise, handing Kuldeep his third wicket. The West Indies’ poor batting performance came to an end when Seales handed a catch to leg slip, giving him his fourth wicket in as few as three overs. It was their second-lowest total against India in ODIs. 

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