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Dhawan, Siraj shine as India pull off thriller by 3 runs

Shardul Thakur put India back on track with his two early blows by packing off Mayers and Brooks.

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Port of Spain: Skipper Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliant 97 and an elegant 64 by Shubhnam Gill helped India post 308/7 batting first and then pulled off a three-run win over West Indies in the series opener.

Dhawan and Gill stitched 119-run stand for the first wicket before the West Indies warded off India’s onslaught to cross the 350 runs mark on Friday.

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The West Indies needed 15 off the final over, but Mohammed Siraj put an end to a flagrant Romario Shepherd who smashed an unbeaten 38 off 25 balls.

Openers Kayle Mayers (75 off 68) and Shamarh Brooks (46 off 61) 117-run partnership for the second wicket put Windies in the driver’s seat early on. Then Brandon King (54 off 66) walked in and brought the team nearly to the victory gates, but the hosts could not cross over and fold at 305 for 6.

Shardul Thakur put India back on track with his two early blows by packing off Mayers and Brooks.

Skipper Nicholas Pooran took guard and flogged Prasidh Krishna for two sixes, but could not stay long and gifted his wicket to Siraj after he made 25 off 26 balls. Nevertheless, King and Akeal Hosein (32 not out off 32) got India fidgety with their 56 runs to stand for the sixth wicket.

However, Yuvzvendra Chahal threw a spanner in the works by scalping the menacing King to make the chase hard enough for the hosts.

Earlier, the fine fifties by Dhawan, Gill, and Shreyas Iyer helped India post a massive 308/7.

Dhawan missed out on his century by three runs, but he stitched a 119-run partnership for the opening wicket along with Gill.

The Indian skipper missed his 18th ODI century. He cut the ball straight to Shamarh Brooks who took a delightful catch at point. Dhawan scored 97 runs off 99 balls and cracked 10 fours and 3 sixes in his innings.

Dhawan also became the sixth Indian batsman to be dismissed in the nineties in ODI cricket in the West Indies.

Five other batsmen who missed out on the century in the Caribbean are Sunil Gavaskar, Yuvraj Singh, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Virendra Sehwag was out twice in the nervous nineties.

Gill also failed to convert his fifty into three-digits as he was run out by West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran after scoring a solid 64 runs.

The elegant opener looked in awesome touch during his 53-ball stay at the crease as he spanked six boundaries and two sixes.

Shreyas Iyer scored 54 batting at number three, but things become difficult after the fall of Suryakumar Yadav for 13.

After their departure, India reaching the 350 mark became doubtful. However, Deepak Hooda (27) and Axar Patel (21) accelerated and helped India cross the 300 runs mark.

Gudakesh Motie and Alzarri Joseph restricted India from cruising towards a huge total by bagging two wickets each.

Brief scores: India 308/7 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 97, Shubman Gill 64, Shreyas Iyer 54; Alzarri Joseph 2/61, Gudakesh Motie 2/54) beat West Indies 305/6 in 50 overs (Kyle Mayers 75, Shamarh Brooks 46, Brandon King 54, Akeal Hosein 32 not out, Romario Shepherd 39 not out) by three runs.

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