The first game of the T20 series between West Indies and India was at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground Lauderhill in Florida. Before start, MS Dhoni tipped the series happening in the USA to be a good step in popularizing the game in the region and the game lived up all the expectations.
MS Dhoni put yet another feather in his cap by captaining India in 325th game passing Ricky Ponting record of 324 games leading the Australian Cricket Team. Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first. Gayle was out of the game which meant Even Lewis in the lineup as the opener alongside Johnson Charles.
Westindies openers Evin Lewis and Johnson Charles went on the attack from the ball one to scored 120 runs in the first nine overs. All the bowlers went for plenty as they were carted around for regular flurry of fours and sixes. Johnson Charles produced yet another superb innings as he scored 79 runs off 33 balls.He struck six fours and seven sixes in his innings to lay ideal foundation for other players in the first overs. Charles fell for 79 runs as he was bowled by fast bowler Mohammad Shami.
Evin Lewis made his emphatic arrival to the international circuit as he made his maiden ton off 49 balls. Lewis struck five fours and nine sixes in his innings. Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite and Kieron Pollard chipped in with quick runs to see West Indies amass a big total of 245 runs on the board.
India openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma came out to the center to produce something extraordinary in wake of a big target of 245 runs set by West Indies. Rahane fell early for 7 runs but Rohit Sharma stamped his authority in the early overs by hitting fours and sixes to get India off to a good start. Virat Kohli entertained for his 9 ball 16 runs but fell to Dwayne Bravo to see India placed at 48 for 2 after 5 overs.
At the stage, it looked a steep climb as the side required 198 runs off 14 overs remaining in the gamely Rahul joined Rohit Sharma at the crease and then began an incredible partnership that saw the duo up the rate of scoring to another. Rahul produced onslaught by targeting off spinner Narine and taking him for 16 runs. Rohit Sharma also went on the charge against Sunil Narine clobbering him for consecutive sixes as he conceded 50 runs from his three overs. The partnership of 89 runs in a space of six overs turned the game on its head as KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma continued to play their attacking game giving no reprieve to opposition bowlers.
Rohit Sharma scored 62 runs off 28 balls as he was dismissed by medium pacer Kieron Pollard. He struck four fours and sixes in his innings.Dhoni arrived to crease with India requiring 109 runs off eight overs. Rahul played an exceptional innings as he went to score his maiden hundred off 46 balls with Dhoni also blazing away at a good rate.
India needed 24 runs in the two overs remaining in the innings. The duo took 16 overs in the 19thover as Bravo was the man to bowl the final over with India needing 8 runs to win game from incredible situation.
Dwayne Bravo bowled immaculately well at the death by bowling yorkers and not allowing Dhoni and KL Rahul any roam to free their arms and find gaps in the field. The last ball was down to Dhoni to take India to win as 2 runs were needed but Bravo bowled a slowish delivery to see the Indian Captain get caught at short third man by Marlon Samuels to spark off wild celebrations among West Indies as they managed to pull off a win at the jaws of defeat.
The game turned to be perfect advert for cricket both the teams producing scintillating performances in front of crowds in Florida. West Indies now leads the three-match series by 1-0.