Tilak Varma shines on debut but India lose opening T20I against West Indies

09:33 AM Aug 04, 2023 | PTI |

Tilak Varma looked very much at home on his international debut before India made a mess of a modest run-chase to lose the opening T20 International against the West Indies by four runs here on Thursday.


Rovman Powell (48 off 32) played a captain’s knock to take West Indies to 149 for six after the hosts opted to bat at the Brian Lara Stadium.

With 37 needed off the last 30 balls and six wickets in hand, India self-destructed to end at 145 for nine in 20 overs.

Jason Holder brought the West Indies back into the game by producing a maiden in the 16th over, when he found the stumps of India skipper Hardik Pandya (19) before Sanju Samson (12) got run out.

Tail-ender Arshdeep Singh (12) made the game more interesting with a couple of fours in the penultimate over, making use of an extra fielder in the circle due to the home team’s slow over rate.


Eventually, Romario Shepherd was able to defend 10 runs off the final over.

The sole bright spot of the chase was Varma’s fearless 39 off 22 balls on his maiden outing for India. The 20-year-old southpaw dispatched West Indies’ quickest bowler, Alzarri Joseph for back to back sixes over deep square leg to announce his arrival in international cricket.

His third and final six came off an aerial drive of pacer Shepherd.

It was not the easiest of pitches to bat on and most of the Indian batters found stroke making tough.

The opening duo of Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill perished cheaply before Suryakumar Yadav (21) and Varma got together.

Suryakumar came up with a spectacular cut short off Joseph that went all the way before the star Indian batter was caught brilliantly by Shimron Hetmyer at extra cover.

Earlier, Powell and the in-form Nicholas Pooran (41 off 34) took the hosts to a respectable total.

Besides Varma, pacer Mukesh Kumar, who made his Test and ODI debut earlier on the tour, was also handed his maiden T20 cap.

With the new ball not doing much in the powerplay, the Indian pace duo of Mukesh and Arshdeep Singh was not able to put the West Indies top-order under pressure.

Hardik introduced spin in the fourth over and Brandon King (28 off 19) made his intentions clear with an inside out six over cover off Axar Patel.

Yuzvendra Chahal (2/24) was brought into the attack in the following over and a struggling Kyle Myers (1) missed a slog sweep off the leggie’s googly only to be adjudged lbw. The replays showed the ball was missing the stumps but Myers chose not to review.

Two balls later, King missed a straight ball off Chahal to be trapped in front. It was the first game of the tour for the Indian leggie.

Pooran, fresh from his sensational hundred in the Major League Cricket final, looked in devastating touch from ball one.

He dispatched Axar for a six and four in the cow corner region, leaving the West Indies at 54 for two in six overs.

Powell then got into the act and smashed three sixes and as many fours to taking the innings forward.

However, the West Indies were never able to get the final flourish, adding 42 runs off the last 30 balls with the loss of two wickets.

Besides Chahal, Arshdeep (2/31) also chipped in with two wickets for the visitors.


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