India skipper Rohit Sharma on Wednesday lauded debutant Ravi Bishnoi after the leg-spinner set up a comfortable six-wicket victory over West Indies in the first Twenty20 international on Wednesday.
Chasing 158 for victory, Rohit’s 40 off 19 balls put India in control and the hosts achieved their target with seven balls to spare to take the lead in the three-match series.
The 21-year-old Bishnoi impressed in his first international match, taking 2-17 from his four overs to restrict West Indies to 157 for seven despite Nicholas Pooran’s attacking 61.
“Bishnoi is a very talented guy which is why we drafted him into the squad straightaway. We see something different in him,” Rohit said of the bowler.
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“He’s got lot of variations and skill-set with him. He can bowl at any stage and it gives us a lot of options to rotate the other bowlers. He’s got a bright future and it’s just about us now on how we use him.”
Bishnoi was named man of the match and said “it’s a dream come true”.
West Indies off-spinner Roston Chase proved to be a big hurdle in India’s chase as he returned figures of 2-14, including the key wickets of openers Rohit and Ishan Kishan.
But Suryakumar Yadav stood firm and smashed 34 not out off 18 deliveries to take the team home with Venkatesh Iyer, who hit the winning six in his unbeaten, 13-ball 24.
Earlier, Rohit took the attack to the opposition bowlers as he hit four fours and three sixes but mistimed a hit to the deep mid-wicket fielder where Odean Smith took a good catch.
The left-handed Kishan, who was bought for a whopping $2 million by Mumbai Indians in the IPL auction last Saturday, struggled on his way to 35 before falling to Chase.
Virat Kohli’s poor run extended into the T20 format as he fell to Fabian Allen for 17. He had scores of eight, 18 and nought in India’s ODI clean-sweep of the West Indies.
Sheldon Cottrell’s wicket of Rishabh Pant raised the tension in the Indian dug-out, but Yadav and Iyer put on an unbeaten stand of 48.
Put into bat, Pooran built key partnerships including a 45-run sixth-wicket stand with returning skipper Kieron Pollard, who hit an unbeaten 24 after he missed the last two ODIs due to a knee injury.
Pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed opener Brandon King for four with the fifth ball of the match before Kyle Mayers and Pooran, who hit four fours and five sixes in his 43-ball blitz, attempted to rebuild the innings.
The left-handed Mayers made 31 off 24 deliveries but fell lbw to Yuzvendra Chahal’s leg-spin while Bishnoi slowed the flow of runs from the other end.
Bishnoi trapped Chase lbw for four and dismissed Rovman Powell cheaply three balls later.
Pooran, who was given an early reprieve on eight when Bishnoi took a catch in the deep but his foot touched the boundary rope, went on to complete his sixth T20 international fifty.
“We can dissect it (our batting) till kingdom come but we have to execute,” said Pollard. “Hopefully come next game, that can happen.”
The second match is on Friday, with all the games to be played at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.