Oval(UK)- India stymied West Indies just enough in the death overs to win their opening one-day international by a measly three runs at Queen’s Park Oval on Friday.
India put up 308-7 and West Indies’ chase ended on a tense 305-6.
The home side needed 15 runs off the last over but the yorkers of medium-pacer Mohammed Siraj limited batters Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hossain to 11.
The series opener was closer than expected. India came from a series win in England, while West Indies was swept aside by visiting Bangladesh.
Both sides started well and finished slow.
A 117-run stand for the second wicket between opener Kyle Mayers and Shamarh Brooks gave West Indies the ideal launch.
Medium-pacer Shardul Thakur got Brooks to pull straight to a fielder on 46 and got Mayers in his subsequent over, giving a thick edge behind. Mayers hit 75 off 68 balls.
West Indies needed 90 runs off the last 10 overs, and Brandon King kept their hopes alive with his third ODI fifty.
But the required run rate was climbing.
Shepherd, 38 not out off 25 balls, and Hossain, 32 not out off 32, just hit enough extra runs to make the ending suspenseful, but not enough in the face of expert bowling by legspinner Yuzvendral Chahal and Siraj, who both took two wickets
India captain Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill, the test opener playing only his fourth ODI, gave their side a start that indicated a 350 total.
Gill reached his first fifty in ODIs, in 36 balls, followed by Dhawan in 53 balls. They’d gathered 119 together smoothly when Gill ran himself out by underestimating the quickness of West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran. Gill made 64 from 53 balls.
The scoring slowed down but Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer took India past 200 and Dhawan was on the brink of his 18th ODI century when he slashed straight to a fielder. He was on 97 from 99 balls, after 10 boundaries and three sixes.
Iyer also achieved a fifty, his 10th, but was out to a brilliant one-handed catch by Pooran.
The West Indies bowlers dialed back their pace and lengths and pegged back India to 83 runs off the last 15 overs on a pitch that slowed down. After about nine overs of frustration, Axar Patel and Deepak Hooda plundered 20 runs off the 48th over, then both were bowled out in the 49th by Alzarri Joseph.
India’s 308-7 total looked imposing. But it was just enough for a sixth consecutive win over West Indies since late 2018.
The second of three ODIs, all at the same ground, on Sunday.