West Indies batsmen put up a hard-to-reach target for India, however, skipper Virat Kohli with his career-best 94 not out stamped his authority on the first T20 International in Hyderabad on Friday (December 6).
Windies captain Kieron Pollard lauded his batters but came down hard on the bowlers for failing to defend 200-plus score in first of the three-match series.
India was able to pull off their highest successful run chase in a T20I, chasing 208 target in 18.4 overs, thus, taking a lead of 1-0.
“I think we batted pretty well. We scored above 200 runs which more often than not you take that. But discipline in bowling and execution let us down tonight,” Pollard said at the post-match press conference on Friday night.
“We gave 23 extras, 14 or 15 of those wide deliveries, so when you look at that, those were extra balls and extra overs. When you give a class team like India these many extra deliveries, you are destined for trouble. No balls are something we stress on in terms of non-negotiable and we bowled a couple of them tonight. It’s something we need to look on,” he said.
However, instead of dwelling on the negatives, Pollard preferred to look at the positives that came out of the match.
“You can find negatives out of every situation but life is about positivity, life is about going forward and looking to improve. I must commend the batters the way they went out and executed,” he said.
“I don’t think dew played much of a part. Obviously, it was a good batting track. That’s what the fans want to see, they want runs, they want sixes and they got that. It’s just a matter of execution. But it’s a long series and it’s a matter of looking at the positives and improve our game.”
“(Shimron) Hetmyer getting back into runs, Brandon King scoring some runs, so it’s exciting times for us. You won’t get everything right overnight but it is a work in progress and I am a pretty contended captain.”
For the first time, the third umpire has been entrusted with the responsibility of calling front foot no balls by the ICC in the ongoing T20 series and subsequent ODIs between India and the West Indies on a trial basis.
And the third umpire did intervene on three occasions during the first T20 here with all the decisions going against the West Indies.
“It is what it is, some things you can’t control. I can’t control what they do or what rules they bring into cricket. So to me that’s not a bother and I am not going to fuss about fight over that,” the West Indies captain said about the ICC’s new rule.”
“We need to control what’s in our hands and that’s playing cricket. We need to keep our foot behind the line, if we do that the umpire upstairs won’t come into play.”
On way to his unbeaten 94, Kohli hit six fours and as many sixes from the 50 balls that he faced. After hitting Kesrick Williams for a six in the 16th over, a fired up Indian captain also used his bat as an imaginary notebook to “tick” the bowler’s name off.
Asked about Kohli’s gesture, Pollard said: “He is an animated character, a great batsman and he continues to show the world that he is a world-class batsman.
“His theatrics or whatever, it comes as part and parcel of the game. Sometimes you have to be like that to pump yourself to score runs and so I am fine with it.”
The second game will be played in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.
(With inputs from agencies)