West Indies narrowly missed out on an historic victory as they produced a mouth-watering run chase, only to fall just short in the opening on Friday. Unable to scored heavily in the last series against Bangladesh which ended last Saturday, the home side gallantly went in pursuit of 309 on a quality batting track.
It was a lion-hearted effort led by left-hander Kyle Mayers who smashed 75 from 68 balls at the top of the order and Brandon King hitting a measured 54 from 66 balls in the middle. Shamarh Brooks stroked 46 from 61 balls before Romario Shepherd (39 not out) and Akeal Hosein (33 not out) nearly won it late on in an unbroken 53-run, seventh wicket stand.
Over 600 runs were scored as spectators, including batting legend Brian Lara, witnessed 100 overs of quality entertainment at the historic venue. It came down to the final over with the pair of Shepherd and Hosein needing 15 and they came within one blow of overhauling their target, but the six runs required off the last ball proved out of their reach.
West Indies lost Shai Hope cheaply for seven in the fifth over with the score on 16, top-edging a short delivery from pacer Mohammed Siraj (2-57) to third man. However, Mayers took command of the innings in a 117-run, second wicket stand with Brooks, belting ten fours and two sixes and keeping West Indies on par with the required run rate.
He raced to his half century off 42 balls at the end of the 16th over but was one of two wickets in successive overs for seamer Shardul Thakur, Brooks also perishing after striking four fours and a six, as he holed out to deep mid-square.
At 138-3 in the 26th over, West Indies were revived by King who put on 51 for the fourth wicket with skipper Nicholas Pooran (25) and a further 56 for the sixth wicket with Hosein, after another two wickets fell for seven runs in the space of 11 balls.
King hit two fours and two sixes and by the time he departed in the 45th over, West Indies were scenting victory but just failed to get over the line.
Earlier, India got a match-wining 97 from their captain Shikhar Dhawan, the left-hander falling just short of his 18th ODI hundred as the innings ended on 309-7 off their 50 overs.
His opening partner Shubman Gill made 64 from 53 balls while Shreyas Iyer scored in with 54 from 57 balls, to put India on course for a total in excess of 350, especially at 205-1 at the end of the 33rd over
West Indies pulled the scoring back in the latter half of the innings, however, left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie (2-54) and fast bowler Alzarri Joseph (2-61) making key strikes to disrupt the visitors’ momentum.