Team India registered a thrilling 3-run victory over the West Indies in the first ODI of the three-match series on Friday. Mohammed Siraj bowled the all-important final over, defending 15 as the hosts fell marginally short of the 309-run target in Port of Spain. India had posted 308/7 after being invited to bat first, and Windies came close to the target thanks to significant contributions from Kyle Mayers, Shamarh Brooks, and Brandon King in the top and middle-order.
Akeal Hosain (33*) and Romario Shepherd (39*), then, almost steered Windies to a memorable run-chase but Mohammed Siraj held his nerve to see India past the finishing line.
Earlier, Shubman Gill made a classy 64 in his ODI comeback while skipper Shikhar Dhawan missed out on a hundred by three runs before the West Indies restricted India to 308 for seven in the series opener here on Friday.
Gill, playing his first ODI since December 2020, played some sublime strokes in his 52-ball knock while Dhawan (97 of 99 balls) took his time before changing gears.
Shreyas Iyer, who has had his troubles of late with the short ball, was back amongst the runs with a fluent 54 off 57 balls. India were set for a 350-plus score but Dhawan’s dismissal for the seventh time in the 90s led to a middle-order collapse with the visitors reduced to 252 for five from 213 for one.
Sanju Samson (12) squandered a good opportunity to make an impact while Suryakumar Yadav (13) fell to a loose shot.
Deepak Hooda (27) and Axar Patel (21) took India past 300 with a 42-run stand for the sixth wicket.
In the run-chase, Windies lost the wicket of Shai Hope (7) early but Mayers (75) and Brooks (46) forged a 117-run stand to stabilise the hosts’ innings. While both batters fell within an over of each other, Brandon King took over the onus of run-scoring with a 54-run knock, and Romario Shepherd gave India a scare with his brutal power-hitting in the final overs.
The duo of Hosain and Shepherd scored 46 runs in overs between 45 and 49; with 15 runs needed on the final six balls, Siraj held his nerve as he started with a dot, conceding a run on the next ball. He did lose his line as Shepherd smashed a four on the next ball before getting another two of the fourth. Siraj, then, bowled a wide and conceded another two.
However, he bowled an impressive yorker on the final delivery as Shepherd missed the ball completely, eventually securing India a 3-run win.