India's white-ball woes deepen after another defeat against the West Indies

Hosts win opening T20 by four runs in Tarouba

West Indies' Nicholas Pooran celebrates the dismissal of India's Sanju Samson during their first T20 at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba. AP
Powered by automated translation

The Indian team suffered yet another chastening defeat on what is turning out to be a frustrating tour of the Caribbean, losing the first T20 by four runs in a low-scoring game.

The West Indies successfully defend a modest target of 150 in Tarouba on Thursday, handing the Indians their second defeat in three matches.

The Indians were well-placed in the chase at 77-3 in the 11th over thanks to debutant Tilak Varma's 39 and 21 from Suryakumar Yadav. The visitors then lost six wickets for just 68 runs to finish on 145-9.

Varma, 20, continued the form he had displayed during a fine IPL season at Mumbai Indians, hitting three sixes in his 22-ball innings.

His innings ended on the last ball of the 11th over when he was caught at fine leg. Ten runs earlier, Yadav was the third wicket to fall, brilliantly caught by Hetmyer who dived to his left at short extra cover off the bowling of Jason Holder.

Skipper Hardik Pandya (19), Axar Patel (13) and Arshdeep Singh (12) all made useful contributions but struggled to force the pace on a slow pitch at the Brian Lara Stadium.

Holder was particularly impressive for the West Indies with figures of 2-19 from his four overs and was named man of the match. Captain Rovman Powell had earlier top-scored with 48 as the West Indies made 149-6 after winning the toss and opting to bat.

"We were right in the chase but we made some errors which cost us," said Pandya. "A young team will make mistakes."

It turned out to be another perplexing outing for India against an opponent struggling with their form.

In the preceding ODI series, India's batsmen were in deep trouble in the first two matches against the hosts, who had failed to qualify for the upcoming World Cup. India lost the second ODI convincingly before waking up from their stupor to win the third match by 200 runs and take the series 2-1.

But they have fallen behind in the five-match T20 series, in the absence of a number of star players who are either rested on injured.

With the ODI World Cup a few months away and the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean next year, India's bench strength and form of first-choice players will worry the team management.

India fared poorly in the last two T20 World Cups, recently lost ODI series against Bangladesh and Australia, and also disappointed in the World Test Championship final. The upcoming ODI World Cup at home is expected to make or break the careers of a number of players.

The return of fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and KL Rahul in the near future should help solve some of the problems but the larger issue of consistency in team selection and player fitness is likely to persist.

The next two T20s will be played in Guyana on Sunday and Tuesday before the series concludes at Lauderhill in Florida on August 12 and 13.

Updated: August 04, 2023, 11:57 AM