A completely revamped and energized India took on West Indies in the first T20I at Fort Lauderhill, Florida yesterday. The performance from the Indian team was far from clinical, but what matters in the end is the result - they won the game and are 1-0 up in the series.
The conditions at Florida were a mystery owing to the overcast and muggy conditions preceding the start of the T20I series. The pitch for the first T20I was two-paced, not conducive to free stroke-play, and that spelled doom for the hosts.
The pitch is expected to play similarly for the second T20I tonight. How quickly can the West Indies batsmen learn to curb their enthusiasm and play according to situation? The turnaround time between games being hardly 24 hours will be make it even more improbable for them to change their approach.
India on the other hand had a very productive outing in the first T20I, especially with the ball. With a very inexperienced bowling attack led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, they kept pegging back the West Indies batsmen every time the latter were gaining some sort of momentum.
Here's looking at the reasons why India will win tonight's game and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series:
Navdeep Saini's fine debut makes the bowling unit look potent
India's bowling unit comprises of talented players who don't have a lot of experience at the international level.
Led by the calm Bhuvneshwar Kumar, there were doubts how this lineup would fare against the attacking West Indies batting. But all that was put to rest in the first T20I, which saw a complete team performance that had West Indies crawling to 95/9 in 20 overs.
It started with Washington Sundar, who got rid of John Campbell for a duck, after which Bhuvneshwar had Evin Lewis dismissed cheaply.
The highlight from the Indian perspective was the impressive debut of Navdeep Saini in T20Is. Saini proved he has the ability to get wickets at the start of the innings and also hold his nerve at the end of the innings. He got two early wickets and then came back at the end to bowl a maiden wicket over.
The promise and potential that Saini showed in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has carried over onto the international scene. Indian fans would hope he continues his good run in the remaining T20Is and ODIs.
India's top order batsmen are due for big scores
India's top order comprising of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Manish Pandey had a sluggish start to their tour of the West Indies. They were fidgety and looked uncertain about the bounce and pace of the pitch at Florida.
Now that they have played one match on this pitch, they will be in a better position to exploit the conditions to their benefit in the remaining games of the series. If you throw in Shreyas Iyer or KL Rahul into the mix, it will be extremely hard for this Indian batting unit to misfire collectively for three consecutive T20Is.
It just needs one big knock from Rohit, Dhawan or skipper Kohli to get them going. Can the West Indies bowlers stop them again?Published 04 Aug 2019, 13:53 IST