Rohit, Karthik provide the star turn before bowlers pummel Windies


Aryan Surana

A superb all-round show from India helped them kick-start the five-match T20I series against West Indies with a comprehensive 68-run win at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad on Friday. Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik were the chief architects of the victory as India posted a formidable 190/6 after they were asked to bat. Despite wickets tumbling around him, Rohit struck a 44-ball 64 to set up a platform for India, before Karthik played the finishing role with an unbeaten 41 off 19, which included 4 fours and two sixes. The Indian spinners then made hay, with Ravi Bishnoi, Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja picking up five wickets between them while Arshdeep Singh bagged a couple as the hosts were restricted to 122/8 on a two-paced wicket.

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Suryakumar Yadav, who opened with Rohit Sharma, got going with a flick for four off Obed McCoy and struck another boundary off Jason Holder after the India captain gave him the charge and played a glorious shot over cover. Suryakumar also smashed a six and a four off debutant Alzarri Joseph, whipping one fine and then ramping one over the wicketkeeper's head. But Akeal Hosein, who had troubled Suryakumar, finally dislodged him when the batter tried to play the ball to the legside but the grip and turn resulted in a leading edge that landed in Holder's hands at short thirdman. Shreyas Iyer perished for a duck as India ended the powerplay at 45/2.

In line with their new approach of batting positively, Rohit continued to find the fence regularly, even pulling a Joseph delivery for a six. Rishabh Pant got into the act with two fours off Keemo Paul in the 10th over but a thick outside edge off the same bowler led to his dismissal.

Rohit flat-batted a ball to deep cover where Shimron Hetmyer took a good catch as India ended the 15th over at 131/5, aiming a 180-plus total. They scored 59 in the last five overs, bettering their own expectations. The strike-rate fillip came in the 19th over as Ashwin put away a full toss from Holder and Karthik ended the over with a six and a four. While 21 came off the 19th over, Karthik struck a six and two fours off McCoy in the final over. An unbroken 52-run seventh wicket stand off 25 deliveries gave India a flourish at the end.

West Indies managed to score three less than what India did in their first six overs, for the loss of an additional wicket. Six among the top seven batters reached double digits but none of them could play an impactful knock. Having slipped to 86/6, there wasn't much the lower order could do to bail them out as West Indies fell way short of the target.

Brief scores: India 190/6 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 64, Dinesh Karthik 41*; Alzarri Joseph 2-46) beat West Indies 122/8 in 20 overs (Shamarh Brooks 20; R Ashwin 2-22, Arshdeep Singh 2-24, Ravi Bishnoi 2-26) by 68 runs.