x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Rohit Sharma thrilled to return with winning fifty

The middle-order batsman scored 72 runs as India beat West Indies by one wicket in the first of five one-day internationals.

Rohit Sharma, left, and Ravindra Jadeja were involved in an 83-run partnership against West Indies on Tuesday night.
Rohit Sharma, left, and Ravindra Jadeja were involved in an 83-run partnership against West Indies on Tuesday night.

Rohit Sharma was a relieved man after hitting a responsible 72 under pressure as India survived a top-order collapse to post a thrilling one-wicket win over the West Indies in the opening one-dayer on Tuesday night.

India were reeling at 59 for five following Kemar Roach's three-wicket burst and Andre Russell's double strike before reaching the 212-run target with seven balls to spare in front of 45,000 spectators at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack.

Rohit came to his team's rescue with an 83-run stand for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (38) in the day-night game, which was held up for nearly five minutes during India's innings due to disturbances in the stands.

Rohit, returning to the side after recovering from a finger injury, then added 42 valuable runs with Vinay Kumar (18) to help his team to a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

He cracked one six and three fours in his ninth half-century in one-dayers.

I am glad I got an opportunity under pressure and managed to pull it through," the 24-year-old batsman said at the post-match presentation ceremony. "I didn't have much cricket after my [finger] injury, but luckily did well in the [domestic] Ranji [Trophy] games [for Mumbai]."

Rohit also paid rich tribute to Jadeja and Vinay, saying, "I needed support from Jadeja at that stage, we played to a plan and he batted brilliantly. Even Vinay Kumar batted really well."

The hosts needed nine runs to win in the last two overs before Umesh Yadav hit the winning boundary off Darren Sammy, the seamer, as India posted their 10th successive one-day win at home.

Roach, the fast bowler, removed Parthiv Patel, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli in his sharp opening spell before Russell accounted for Virender Sehwag (20), the captain, and Suresh Raina to put pressure on India.

Sehwag, the stand-in captain in place of the rested MS Dhoni was naturally ecstatic. "I was sitting in the same place and not moving," he said. "Good to win another nail-biter."

India earlier put in a disciplined bowling performance to restrict West Indies to a modest total despite Darren Bravo's impressive half-century. Left-handed Bravo, who hit two hundreds in the recent Test series against the hosts, top-scored for West Indies with a 74-ball 60 for his sixth half-century in one-day internationals.

Bravo, who survived a difficult caught-and-bowled chance off Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner, on 26, was bowled by part-time spinner Raina in the 35th over after hitting six fours.

West Indies were struggling at 52 for three before Bravo steadied the innings with a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket with Danza Hyatt (31).

The tourists failed to build on Bravo's effort, and they added just 44 runs in the last 10 overs, with tailender Russell making a 20-ball 22. Yadav and Varun Aaron, the young India pacemen, each bagged two wickets.

The tourists raced to 52 off 10 overs after being put in to bat but lost the top-three batsmen, Lendl Simmons (19), Adrian Barath (17) and Marlon Samuels (10) in the process, with Vinay, Yadav and Aaron each taking a wicket.