x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Yuvraj gives the edge

The India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was unhappy with his players' complacency despite their win over West Indies in the first one-day international.

KINGSTON // The India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was unhappy with his players' complacency despite their 20-run win over West Indies in the first one-day international at Sabina Park. Yuvraj Singh's fine innings of 131 off 102 balls led India to a huge total of 339 for six, and they seemed to be cruising to victory with West Indies at 250 for seven.

But David Bernard and Denesh Ramdin kept things interesting until they were out with the total on 319 in the penultimate over, much to the annoyance of Dhoni. "I think most of the guys thought we had won the game at seven down," he said in the post-match presentation. "That's the mistake we committed and hope we won't commit it again. "If you look at the scoreboard it says we won by 20 runs, but it was much closer than that."

Dhoni hailed the contribution of Yuvraj, saying: "He has been brilliant. We rely a lot on him. He bats at No 4 and gets big runs. "It's a pleasure to have him in the side because he takes the pressure off the lower-order batsmen." Yuvraj admitted he struggled to work out the pace of the pitch at first. "For the first 20 balls I was struggling, but when I got through the first 25, 30 runs I was confident," he said. "As I got going I got momentum and played a few shots."

Dhoni also praised the efforts of Ashish Nehra, who was making a comeback after being in the wilderness for four years. The 30-year-old Nehra and Yusuf Pathan picked up three wickets apiece. Dhoni said handing Ashish Nehra the ball in the closing stage was a "gamble" which paid off. "It was a gamble. We were thinking of giving that over to an off-spinner or a pacer. Finally we chose a pacer as the ball was getting reverse swing," he said.

The West Indies captain, Chris Gayle, who provided the early momentum with a 33-ball knock of 37, blamed Lady Luck for losing the toss and felt his side could have won on another day. "We came close and the effort can't be faulted for the way we went about it. I think that we had a good start [to the innings] and a couple of the top-order batsmen got good starts, which we should have capitalised on it," he said.

"It was a good effort. We batted well. Darren [Bravo] who was making debut was also impressive. Shiv [Chanderpaul] played a top innings at the top," he said. Gayle said he would also have batted first on the dry track. "I think if we had won the toss we would have batted first because it is a flat track and the wicket seemed a bit dry. "It was a good wicket to bat on. When you're bowling to these batters, it's going to be difficult with the power of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni."

He added: "A bit of luck and anything could have happened. We're looking forward to the second ODI [today] and hopefully we can square the series." However, the hosts suffered a dent to their confidence after they were fined for maintaining a slow over-rate. Gayle's side fell two overs short of their target when time allowances were taken into consideration. As a result, Gayle was fined 20 per cent of his match fees while his players received fines of 10 per cent.

* Agencies