Lauderhill, Florida: Seamer Navdeep Saini starred on debut with a three-wicket haul as India beat West Indies by four wickets to win the first of the three T20 internationals here yesterday.
Saini made a memorable international debut by grabbing two important wickets off consecutive deliveries to help India restrict the West Indies to 95/9 in 20 overs after skipper Virat Kohli asked the Windies to bat first. Coming to bowl in the fifth over after Washington Sundar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had removed openers John Campbell and Evin Lewis for a pair of ducks, Saini (3/17) snared the wickets of Nicholas Pooran (20) and Shimron Hetmyer (0) off back-to-back deliveries to reduce the hosts to 28/4 after five overs. West Indies could never recover from there as Saini shone in the final over, which he finished with a wicket-maiden to cap off a dream debut.
Chasing 96 for victory, the visitors lost Shikhar Dhawan early, plumb in front to Sheldon Cottrell (2/20) in just the second over.
Skipper Virat Kohli joined Rohit Sharma in the middle, the pair recently in the news for their reported rift after the World Cup.
Just when they were looking good, especially Rohit with some clinical hitting, the Indian vice-captain threw away his wicket for 24 from 25 balls (2x4, 2x6), trying to go for a needless big shot.
It became tense when Kohli (19) top-edged a pull to Pollard. But Krunal Pandya (12) and Ravindra Jadeja (10 not out) saw India through.