Indian batsmen had no trouble in getting a few easy runs under their belt before persistent rain led to abandonment of the first cricket One-dayer against the West Indies, here today. Shikhar Dhawan extended his red-hot form with a 87-run knock and Ajinkya Rahane scored 62 before rain forced an early suspension of the Indian innings. After two rain-interruptions, India’s innings ended at 199 for three in 39.2 overs. The first time rain stopped play, India were 189 for three in 38 overs. Play resumed after loss of a few minutes but only 10 balls were bowled when rain again stopped play.
The Indian innings could not be re-started after that and the hosts were set a target of 194 in 26 overs. However, rain denied a contest. The second match is scheduled for Sunday. Dhawan and Rahane did not quite set the stage on fire but batted comfortably to raise a solid 132-run opening stand on a slowish track, not conducive for stroke-play. They looked on course for big knocks before an innocuous looking bowling line-up from the West Indies stopped them in their tracks. Like in the Champions Trophy, the Indian openers batted quite slow, scoring just 47 runs in 10 overs and the following batsmen did not get the chance to accelerate later.
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None of the West Indies bowler troubled the Indian batsmen, who did not dominate the attack either, preferring to nudge the ball around to keep the scoreboard ticking. Dhawan’s 87 came off 92 balls with 10 boundaries, including two shots over the ropes while Rahane took 78 balls for his 62 which had eight shots to the fence. Yuvraj Singh (4) got out cheaply and captain Virat Kohli (32) and MS Dhoni (9) had a finishing job to do but the rain interruptions denied them the opportunity.
Leg-break bowler Devendra Bishoo completed his quota of 10 overs and conceded 39 runs and also dismissed Dhawan. After reading the wicket well and mostly scoring through languid drives, Rahane raised his half-century when an edge off Miguel Cummins raced to the boundary ropes.
Dhawan too completed his fifty with a six off pacer Alzarri Joseph over deep square leg boundary. It looked easiest of the shots he played as he picked the length quite early and lofted it over the ropes. The runs were coming at will for the Indians and suddenly there was something to cheer for the hosts as Jospeh deceived Rahane with a slower one forcing the Indian opener to miscue the shot which landed in the hands of the skipper at mid-on.
The fall of wicket brought captain Kohli to the crease and he had to negotiate some testing spin from leg-break bowler Devendra Bishoo. Dhawan though kept going strong, getting a six off Joseph and a four off Cummins to get close to the three-figure mark. Kohli took some time to adjust to the slow nature of the wicket as initially he relied on singles. He took 20 balls to hit first boundary, which was a pull off a short and rising ball from Cummins.
Bishoo was rewarded for his hard work when he caught Dhawan plumb in front of the wicket. Dhawan played a flick but missed the line completely and was adjudged leg before wicket by Kumar Dharamsena. Indians reviewed the decision but TV replays confirmed that the Sri Lankan umpire had called it correct. Stage was set for Yuvraj to get a big score with the bowlers hardly making an impact but the left-hander hit one straight to Evin Lewis off rival captain Holder.