After a shocking World Cup exit, India locked horns with West Indies, looking to leave behind the disappointment, and start the preparations for the ICC T20I World Cup. India has to play 23 T20I matches before that tournament, and the men-in-blue were clinical in first of those matches. Riding on the back of a superb job from the bowlers, the team restricted the West Indies’ batting to 95, before the batsmen chased the target with 16 balls to spare.
Batting first, West Indies was off to a poor start. The team lost both its openers for a duck, which set the tone for the batting collapse. Kieron Pollard fought tooth and nail to get his team to a respectable total, but Windies kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Chasing 95, the Indian batsmen made the job difficult for them. Rohit Sharma and Manish Pandey got out while playing rash shots. But in the end, the visitors managed to chase down the target, with Washington Sunder’s six sealing the deal.
Navdeep Saini was the standout performer for the visitors. Making his debut in international cricket, the speedster scalped 3 wickets for just 17 runs in his quota of four overs. The first over of the spell first over saw him scalping Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetymer on two successive deliveries. This broke the backbone of the West Indian batting. He returned back in the death overs, where he bowled a wicket-maiden 20th over, becoming the first Indian bowler to do so. Saini also won the Man-Of-the-Match award for his fine performance.
The experts were all praises for the youngster. Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, who was also making his comeback to the squad after being ruled out due to injury, also took to Twitter to praise him. “Not many can bowl a maiden last over. Superb job on your debut, Navdeep,” wrote Dhawan.
Not many can bowl a maiden last over. 👌
Superb job on your debut, Navdeep. pic.twitter.com/MRvGbQCSyf
— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) August 3, 2019
Clearly, Saini could not have asked for a better debut than this. Virat Kohli and the team would hope that he continues his fine performance in the upcoming matches. Saini can be a good option for both powerplay and the death overs. With some grooming, he can be a bowler to rely upon for years.
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