Surkyakumar Yadav played the finisher’s role flawlessly after skipper Rohit Sharma blazed away at the top as India cruised to a six-wicket victory over the West Indies in the first T20 International on Wednesday.
At his home ground, Eden Gardens, Rohit smashed a 19-ball 40 (6x3, 4x4) to lay the groundwork for India’s victory after his bowlers restricted the visitors to 157 for seven.
Surkyakumar then scored a quick 34 in only 18 deliveries with the support of VenkateshIyer (24 off 13) to help India chase down the target of 158 with seven balls to spare and grab a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Roston Chase (2/14) bowled wonderfully in the middle overs, dismissing both Indian openers, Rohit and Ishan Kishan, before the hosts also lost ViratKohli and Rishabh Pant, leaving them at 114/4 after 15 overs.
Ishan Kishan, the most expensive IPL buy, made 35 in 42 balls before becoming Chase’s second victim. He was bought back by the Mumbai Indians for a staggering Rs 15.25 crore.
Kishan, who batted alongside the skipper, struggled to get going while Rohit appeared to be in full flow.
Former India captain ViratKohli continued his poor form, falling for a 13-ball 17 after hitting straight to Kieron Pollard at long-off.
However, Rohit’s quick start ensured that India stayed on track before Suryakumar and Iyer completed the show with an unbroken 48-run partnership from 26 balls.
Suryakumar was brilliant all around the wicket, smashing one six and five fours in his unbeaten knock, and Iyer, despite playing with an injured hand, looked in great touch.
When Rohit smacked Romario Shepherd over deep square leg in the second over, he went into attack mode.
Odean Smith received the brunt of Rohit’s outstanding batting, as the captain ran him out for 22 runs in the over with a 6, 4, 6 off successive balls.
In just 4.3 overs, India had a 50-run partnership, but Rohit could not exploit his start and was removed by Chase while attempting to clear the deep midwicket boundary.
Chase was outstanding for the Windies, taking the wickets of Ishan Kishan and finishing with excellent statistics of 4-0-14-2.
Earlier, on a high following his hefty IPL buyout, West Indies wicketkeeper-batter Nicholas Pooran returned to form with a brisk 61 as the team recovered from a mid-innings slump to post a fighting total.
The left-hander, who earned a whopping Rs 10.75 crore from Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL mega auction, returned to form in spectacular fashion, scoring his runs in 43 balls with five sixes and four boundaries.
The Windies No. 3, who had an abysmal IPL with 85 runs at a poor average of 7.72 and scores of 18, 9, and 34 in the previous three ODIs, made his intentions clear early on by smashing Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a big six.
A regained fitness Kieron Pollard, who had been out of the last two ODIs, came back to play a cameo (24 not out from 19 balls) with two fours and a six.
Bishnoi, the googly man from Jodhpur, made an impression on his debut with figures of 4-0-17-2, which included the wickets of Roston Chase (4) and Rovman Powell (2) in the space of four balls to derail the Windies’ middle overs.
After the batter failed to negotiate his outswingers, Bhuvneshwar got his swing moving up front and dismissed Brandon King (4) in the opening over.