» Cricket » Rahul hits ton but Dhoni fails to finish as India lose by 1 run

Rahul hits ton but Dhoni fails to finish as India lose by 1 run

Last updated on: August 29, 2016 00:10 IST
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IMAGE: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left, shows his disappointment after India lost the first T20I against the West Indies in Florida, on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI

Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to finish off the match, dismissed off the final delivery with just two runs needed for victory, as India went down by one run in the first T20 International against the West Indies, in Florida, on Saturday.

Chasing a record target of 246 runs, India narrowly missed achieving the highest-ever successful run chase in T20 Internationals despite Lokesh Rahul's maiden hundred as they finished on 244 for four in reply to West Indies' total of 245 for six.

- Scorecard

Rahul, included in the playing eleven ahead of Shikhar Dhawan, smashed an unbeaten 110 off 51 balls, inclusive of 12 fours and five sixes. He helped India make a strong reply after Evin Lewis had blasted 100 from 49 balls to help the West Indies post a massive total.

India needed just eight runs from the final over with the well-set Rahul and captain Dhoni out in the middle. However, the experienced Dwayne Bravo kept his cool and, despite seeing Marlon Samuels dropping Dhoni off the first ball of the final over of the match, he held his nerve to have India's skipper caught by the same fielder off the last delivery and fashion an unlikely victory.

IMAGE: Dwayne Bravo, centre, celebrates with his team mates after the West Indies win the first T20I against India. Photograph: BCCI

India needed two runs off the final delivery but Dhoni, who scored a quickfire 43 off 25 balls, was caught by Samuels at short third-man much to the disappointment of the large number of Indian supporters at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground, in Lauderhill.

India thus failed to better the highest-ever successful run chase of 236 for six, which the West Indies pulled off against South Africa in January last year in Johannesburg.

KL Rahul

IMAGE: K L Rahul, left, celebrates after completing his century. Photograph: BCCI

Rahul, who was dropped on 36 by Andre Russell, became the third Indian to hit a century -- and the highest scorer -- in T20 Internationals after Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma.

Playing is fourth T20I, Rahul got his 100 off 46 balls. He is the joint second fastest in T20 Internationals, along with South African Faf du Plessis, and just one ball short of South African Richard Levi's fastest 45-ball hundred against New Zealand in 2012 in Hamilton.

The match, the first international outing for India in the United States was a show of batting prowess between the two teams on a feather bed of a pitch at the small at Lauderhill ground and Dhoni's men came out second best in the end.

Earlier, India's bowlers were mercilessly hammered for a record 21 sixes as the West Indies posted the third highest T20 International innings score of 245 for six in their 20 overs.

IMAGE: Evin Lewis hits out against India. Photograph: BCCI

Dhoni's decision to insert the opposition in backfired as the West Indies batsmen rained 13 fours and 21 sixes on a flat pitch. All the Indian bowlers were butchered by the batting pyrotechnics of the World champions.

The previous highest number of sixes in an innings was 19, hit by the Netherlands against Ireland in 2014.

Their mammoth total of 245 for six was the third highest innings total behind the 260 for six, scored by Sri Lanka against Kenya in 2007, and 248 for six, by Australia against England in 2013.

This was the highest ever T20 International score against India by any team, surpassing the 219 for four by South Africa in Johannesburg in March 2012.

Rookie opener Lewis, playing in his only second T20 International, starred with the bat as he slammed 100  from 49 balls; he hit five fours and nine sixes, putting on 126 runs for the first wicket from a mere 9.3 overs with Johnson Charles, who started off the fireworks and finished his rampaging innings with 79 off 33 balls.

Johnson Charles

IMAGE: Johnson Charles hits a boundary against India, in Florida, on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI

Lewis also hit the fifth fastest hundred in T20 Internationals, getting to the milestone in just 48 balls.

At one stage the West Indians threatened to post the highest ever T20 International score, around the 275-run mark, as they reached 199 for one at the end of 15 overs before India made fine a comeback in the final five overs, conceding just 46 runs and taking five wickets in the process.

Except for Ravichandran Ashwin, who conceded just 36 runs in his four overs, all the other five bowlers went for more than 10 runs an over.

Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah picked up two wickets each in the last few overs to check the West Indies' total.

The beginning was ominous for India as Mohammed Shami gave away 17 runs in the first over itself with Charles smashing him for a six and two boundaries.

Shami was taken off and Bumrah was introduced in the third over.

The West Indies continued to score at a brisk pace with Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceding 20 runs in his first two overs.

Bumrah was also taken to the cleaners, Lewis hoisting him for two sixes and a four to amass 18 runs from the fifth over.

IMAGE: The Indian players celebrate the wicket of Johnson Charles. Photograph: BCCI

The Caribbeans got to 50 in just 4.1 overs and the Indians were forced to introduce Ashwin into the attack in the sixth over.

Ashwin, the best Indian bowler in the Test series against the West Indians, also suffered as he was hit for two sixes by Charles, who registered his fifty off just 20 balls, with the help of five fours and four sixes.

The raining of fours and sixes went unabated as Jadeja was also hammered. Lewis pummeled him for two sixes over the leg side to power the Windies past the 100-run in 7.5 overs, at the rate of over 13 an over.

In the 10th over, India got their first breakthrough, Shami removing Charles of a yorker-length delivery on off-stump.

Charles looked to get across and play a lap sweep but missed it completely and was bowled.

The West Indies were still placed in a commanding position at 132 for one at the half-way mark.

Medium pacer Stuart Binny, who was introduced in the 11th over, was hit for five sixes by Lewis for a total of 32 runs, narrowly escaping the ignominy of being hit for six sixes in an over.

Two wickets in the 16th over off the bowling of Jadeja put the brakes on the West Indian innings. The left-arm spinner accounted for Andre Russell (22), who was trapped leg before wicket before he took a catch off his own bowling to dismiss the dangerous Lewis.

Three West Indies wickets fell in the final over; captain Carlos Brathwaite (14) was run-out by Bumrah himself before scalping Kieron Pollard (22) and Lendl Simmons (0) off consecutive deliveries.

India suffered an early jolt in their run chase when Ajinkya Rahane was caught at third-man off Andre Russell for seven, Bravo taking a sensational catch near the boundary line.

Rohit Sharma led the fightback as he went after the bowlers in the early overs and brought the Indian innings back on track, smashing 62 from 28 balls.

Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: India opener Rohit Sharma hits a six. Photograph: BCCI

India's batting mainstay Virat Kohli also perished cheaply, caught down the leg side off Bravo for 16, attempting to pull a short delivery.

However, Rohit and Rahul rallied India with some attacking batting in the middle overs. They were very severe on mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who went for 50 runs in his three overs.

Rahul hit Narine for a six and two fours to take 16 runs from the sixth over while Rohit hit two sixes in his next over as the Indians scored at 12 an over to reach 100 in the ninth over.

Rohit raced to his half-century from just 22 balls as he hoisted Kieron Pollard for a six in the 10th over, while Rahul attained the landmark off 26 balls as the Indians progressed nicely, hitting boundaries at regular intervals to stay in touch with the asking rate.

Rohit was dismissed in the 12th over, caught at deep mid-wicket off Pollard.

Dhoni came out, and with Rahul going great, played second fiddle as India amassed 182 for 3 at the end of 15 overs, needing 64 runs from the final five to win the match.

India got 11 runs from the 16th over before bringing up their 200 in the next.

Just when things started getting out of hand, Dhoni responded by hitting two sixes off Russell, and Rahul also got one six in the same over to score 20 runs from the 17th over and bring the equation down to 33 runs from three overs for victory.

Rahul brought up his century in the 19th over when he slashed a short ball from Russell over the third-man region for a six. He took just 46 balls to attain the landmark, having hit 11 fours and five sixes.

That left India with just eight runs from the final over for victory.

However, Bravo bowled a superb last over, and despite Dhoni being dropped off the first ball, he brought all his experience into play and helped the West Indies escape with a narrow one-run victory.

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