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India beats West Indies in one-off T20 International

S. Dinakar

— PHOTO: AP

MATCH-WINNER:S. Badrinath played a classy knock to help India post a defendable total.

Port-of-Spain: S. Badrinath's solidity, the depth in the Indian batting and some disciplined bowling enabled a new-look India defeat a young West Indies outfit by 16 runs in the one-off Twenty20 International here on Saturday.

Pursuing 160, the West Indies finished at 143 for five. Coach Duncan Fletcher has begun his India tenure with a win. The match was also the 200th T20 International. Badrinath was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his fighting 43 in an adverse situation after the West Indies pacemen had made early inroads.

West Indies skipper Darren Sammy's commendable four for 16 went in vain.

The tight Indian bowling and alert fielding choked the home batsmen for most part. Praveen Kumar began with an immaculate maiden over to Andre Fletcher. Then, Harbhajan Singh gave little away.

The pressure produced a wicket, although it came under dubious circumstances. Off-spinner R. Ashwin turned one into Lendl Simmons and the ball travelled off 'keeper Parthiv Patel's glove, then helmet to Virat Kohli at slip. The Indian appeal was upheld; a batsman cannot be dismissed if the ball bounces off a fielder's helmet. Worse, the delivery had not made contact with the bat.

Soon, seamer Munaf Patel yorked Fletcher. The Indians had struck at the start.

The left-right combination of Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels revived the innings without ever threatening India. Samuel's straight drive off Munaf, followed by a lofted cover-drive, underlined his class. Southpaw Bravo put away Praveen when the bowler erred in line and swept Harbhajan. Yet, this association lacked thrust and focus.

The experienced Harbhajan took out both the batsmen. Bowling from round the wicket, the off-spinner forced Samuels to top-edge a sweep. Then a quicker, fuller ball was inside-edged by Bravo on to his stumps.

Christopher Barnwell biffed a few past the ropes in the end overs, but the host was never really in with a chance.

Earlier, India recovered from a precarious 56 for four in the ninth over. Badrinath, calm-headed and sure-footed, read the conditions well. His 37-ball 43 held the innings together after Sammy had elected to field in overcast conditions.

Badrinath's 71-run association with Rohit Sharma (26) put India on course. And a few lusty hits from Yusuf Pathan and Harbhajan took India close to the 160-run mark.

When on 25, Badrinath was caught at cover off Rampaul, but replays showed the paceman had over-stepped. The batsman received a life-line. Rohit (on eight) was put down by off-spinner Ashley Nurse off his own bowling.

The elegant Rohit launched into Rampaul for a six over the sightscreen. Paceman Barnwell was dismissed over long-on. However, the seamer was on target with his next delivery and Rohit missed. Bishoo, finally, dismissed Badrinath with a lovely, flighted leg-spinner.

The Indian eleven featured three debutants in Parthiv Patel, Shikhar Dhawan and Badrinath. The first two walked in to open the innings.

Sammy prised out Dhawan with a well-directed short-pitched delivery; 'keeper Andre Fletcher snaffled up the edge. He then removed Virat Kohli and the left-handed Parthiv Patel off successive deliveries and later consumed Raina.

The legendary Vivian Richards held centrestage ahead of the contest when he faced a delivery from Harbhajan. A nonchalant defensive stroke followed and the crowd roared. Watching ‘The King' in action brightened the arena even as dark clouds covered the skies.

SCOREBOARD

India: Parthiv c Samuels b Sammy 26 (20b, 2x4, 1x6), S. Dhawan c Fletcher b Sammy 5 (11b), V. Kohli c Hyatt b Sammy 14 (12b, 2x4), S. Badrinath c Fletcher b Bishoo 43 (37b, 5x4), S. Raina c Barnwell b Sammy 2 (6b), R. Sharma b Barnwell 26 (20b, 2x6), Yusuf (not out) 15 (6b, 2x6), Harbhajan (not out) 15 (7b, 1x4, 1x6); Extras (lb-1, w-10, nb-2): 13; Total (for six wkts in 20 overs): 159.

Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Dhawan), 2-48 (Kohli), 3-48 (Parthiv), 4-56 (Raina), 5-127 (Rohit), 6-134 (Badrinath).

West Indies bowling: Rampaul 4-0-38-0, Russell 2-0-26-0, Sammy 4-0-16-4, Nurse 4-0-23-0, Bishoo 4-0-31-1, Barnwell 2-0-24-1.

West Indies: A. Fletcher b Munaf 11 (16b, 1x6), L. Simmons c Kohli b Ashwin 9 (9, 1x4), D. Bravo b Harbhajan 41 (41b, 5x4), M. Samuels c Parthiv b Harbhajan 27 (29b,3x4), D. Hyatt (not out) 14 (7b, 1x4, 1x6), D. Sammy c Kohli b Praveen 0 (2b), C. Barnwell (not out) 34 (16b, 2x4, 3x6); Extras (lb-4, w-3): 7; Total (for five wkts in 20 overs): 143.

Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Simmons), 2-22 (Fletcher), 3-88 (Samuels), 4-92 (Bravo), 5-93 (Sammy).

India bowling: Praveen 4-1-27-1, Harbhajan 4-0-25-2, Ashwin 4-0-30-1, Munaf 4-0-35-1, Yusuf 4-0-22-0.

Man-of-the-Match: S. Badrinath .

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