Five Takeaways From India’s Nail-Biting Victory Over West Indies In First ODI

Chasing India's 308/7, West Indies could only manage 305/6 at Queens Park Oval in Port of Spain on Friday in first ODI.

Shardul Thakur and Yuzvendra Chahal celebrate the fall of a West Indies wicket in first ODI.

India started their tour of West Indies on a winning note on Friday clinching a last-ball thriller in the first of three ODIs at Port of Spain. Shikhar Dhawan made a well-crafted 97 while Shubman Gill made a classy 64 in his ODI comeback as India won the game by three runs.  

Openers Dhawan and Gill shared a 119-run stand before the West Indies fought back to restrict India to 308 for seven. 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). 

India play West Indies again on July 24 and 27 in second and third ODIs respectively before engaging in a five-match T20 series.   

Let’s take a look at five takeaways from India’s win over West Indies in the first ODI.

Shikhar Dhawan’s Return To Form

After his below-par three-match ODI series against England, Shikhar Dhawan’s return to form against West Indies on Friday is a breath of fresh air for the Indian team management. Given the leadership duties in place of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, the southpaw scored 97 off 99 balls missing on his 18th hundred. Dhawan, who only plays one format, paced his innings well with opening partner Shubman Gill. Dhawan collected 10 fours and three sixes and his opening wicket stand of 119 runs with Gill laid the platform for India 300-plus score. Dhawan’s go-to-shot was the slog sweep off left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie.

Sanju Samson Disappoints Again

One of the major disappointments in India’s batting was Sanju Samson. Known for scoring loads of runs in domestic cricket, Samson (12) squandered a good opportunity to make an impact. In his 16-match (2 ODIs and 14 T20s) international career, as the Kerala skipper managed to score a fifty just once. A good knock on Friday would have given the Indian selectors to keep an eye on him in the no-so-consistent middle-order going into the World Cup at home next year.

Inconsistent Middle-Order

One of the major drawbacks the Indian cricket team have faced over the years is their inconsistent middle-order. With the top stars like Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik rested for this series, it was a perfect opportunity for the youngsters to create an impact and stake a claim at this level. Baring the top three, none of Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson could cross 30-run mark on Friday.

Mohammed Siraj’s Nerves Of Steel

Mohammed Siraj produced nerves of steel to win the match for India against West Indies on Friday. Defending 15 runs in the final over, Siraj produced five yorkers in the last six balls to choke Romario Shepherd, who was capable to pull off a heist. Sanju Samson is worth creditable behind the stumps too. After failing to make most use with the bat, the India wicketkeeper produced two stunning saves diving towards his left, which otherwise would have easily gone to the boundary.

Shardul Thakur’s Timely Strikes

Shardul Thakur may have proved costly among all the Indian bowlers on display against West Indies in the first ODI, but his timely double strike was crucial in the visiting team’s narrow win on Friday. At a time, when Kyle Mayers and Shamarh Brooks were going strong in the chase, Thakur broke the stand by dismissing the former for 75, caught by Sanju Samson. The all-rounder returned two overs later to get better of Brooks for 46 to the joy of Indians.