Rohit Sharma delivered an ominous warning to hosts West Indies after guiding his side to a four-wicket win in the opening One Day International match at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday.
A gritty unbeaten knock of 68 from Rohit Sharma, and his 80-run stand for the fifth wicket with captain Suresh Raina helped India go 1-0 up in the five-match series.
It was a commanding performance from the second string Indian team, although they did look in a spot of bother when they lost four wickets for 104 runs halfway through the innings.
West Indies won the toss and elected to bat first, but despite half centuries from Ramnaresh Sarwan (56) and Marlon Samuels (55), the rest of the batsmen failed miserably and they were restricted to 214 for nine in their 50 overs.
Harbhajan Singh took three wickets for 32 runs, while seamers Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel and spinner Raina grabbed two wickets each.
Chasing 215 to win, India lost Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli early. Patel was the victim of a needless run out, while Kohli slashed at a wide one to be caught behind by Carlton Baugh off the bowling of Ravi Rampaul.
Subramaniam Badrinath, India’s Twenty20 win hero, edged an attempted cut off Devendra Bishoo into the gloves of Baugh, and at 104, moments after bringing up his half century, opener Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed by Anthony Martin when his slog sweep found Lendl Simmons in deep mid wicket boundary.
And Sharma, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his 68, said the packed schedule did not bother him much and he was focused only on scoring as many runs as possible.
“It was quite difficult initially because the track was turning. It was important to spend some time in the middle to play our shots,” said Sharma.
“We are used to the workload, with the IPL and it depends on each individual how they react to the schedule. I just want to keep scoring runs and I’m happy to start the tournament on a good note. I’m very much hungry for runs.”
A delighted Raina was happy with the team’s effort, saying: “The bowlers did a great job, followed by Rohit and Shikhar. The track wasn’t good for batting, but we rotated the strike well.
“We can do better in the field, a couple of us need to show more intensity. It’s looking good at the moment and I hope we will do well in the coming games.”
West Indies lost openers Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo inside the mandatory powerplay overs.
Munaf was rewarded for some excellent line and length bowling and ended up having Bravo caught by Rohit Sharma at a widish slip position. Simmons fell in an effort to up the ante as he lofted Kumar to Harbhajan at mid-off for an easy catch.
The Windies lost their third wicket when Kirk Edwards top edged a pull shot to be caught by Kohli off the bowling of Harbhajan for 21.
Sarwan and Samuels then put on 82 runs for the fourth wicket before the former was caught down the leg side off Munaf’s bowling. He struck five fours during his 94 ball innings.
Samuels then took charge and added 36 runs with Dwayne Bravo before being bowled by Indian skipper Suresh Raina after scoring 55 off 75 balls, a knock which included three fours and two sixes.
West Indies captain Sammy blamed his batsmen for the defeat.
“We didn’t score enough runs. We kept taking wickets but the total wasn’t big enough to put pressure on them. It’s a turning track and we wanted to have the best of the conditions when batting first.
“Desmond Haynes, our batting consultant, has been doing a good job but we just need to execute our plans properly,” said Sammy.
Kieron Pollard was left out of the playing eleven by the West Indies, while India sprung a surprise by choosing to play Amit Mishra in place of R Ashwin.