Port of Spain, June 5: When a national side wholly constitutes players who have garnered a wealth of experience from the world's biggest domestic Twenty20 tournament, you expect that side to come out tops. Thus, with its slew of Indian Premier League (IPL) contestants, Team India went into the clash against the West Indies as favourites. And triumphant they emerged in the tour-opening Twenty20 International at Port of Spain.
In this clash, the Indian middle-order batsmen stayed focused on the job at hand, even as a beguiling Windies' captain ran through the top-order. Team India, as they don't usually do, were not fazed when the score read a precarious 56/4 in 8.3 overs. Instead, S Badrinath and Rohit Sharma stemmed the rot and gradually wrested the initiative back India's way.
By diligently counter-attacking and alternating aggression with caution, the duo took India well past 100 and provided the platform for the latter order to blast away. Then testimant to their reputation, Yusuf Pathan and Harbhajan Singh put on a valuable 25 runs in just 11 balls to take their side to a competitive 159/6.
When the Windies came out to bat, the Indian bowlers greeted them with some exceptionally tight bowling, thus disabling the hosts from launching a blazing start. Paceman Munaf Patel and off-break R Ashwin bowled shrewdly in tandem and together got rid off the opening pair for a mere 22 runs.
Even as the mometum subsequently swung away from them, the Indian bowlers kept plugging away admirably. By keeping a tab on the Windies run-flow which was hovering around just 6 runs per over, the Indian attack were able to step up the pressure in the final quarter. That's when Harbhajan Singh came to the party with two scalps and Praveen Kumar pitched in with one more, as the Windies slumped to 93/5 in 16.2 overs.
The Windies' latter middle over then tried to do what their Indian counterparts were able to pull off - slam-banging their way in the last few overs. And though a flurry of boundaries and sixes ensued, it was not enough to trump India.