Only 13 overs of play were possible yesterday in the first My Team 11 One Day International (ODI) match between West Indies and India, being played at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence.
It was India’s first ODI in Guyana after 30 years, and Chris Gayle failed to surpass Brian Lara’s score to become the leading West Indian scorer in ODI cricket, as rain had the final say.
Virat Kohli won the toss for the fourth time in this series, and asked West Indies to bat first. Playing without Keemo Paul, John Campbelle, and Oshane Thomas, West Indies took centre stage at Providence when the match commenced about two hours from scheduled time.
The game was first reduced to a 43-over affair, but West Indies batsmen were asked to leave the field at 11:54 hours, after 5.4 overs had been bowled and the score was 9-0.
With constant rainfall, both teams took the field at 13:10 hours, when the match was further reduced to 34 overs.
At that time, Evin Lewis got into his business, smashing Khaleel Ahmed for 15 runs and setting the tone for an explosive innings.
Lewis was trapped in front, but India failed to review; it was the perfect opening for the explosive Lewis. At the end of the ‘powerplay’, West Indies were 42-0. That figure soon became 42-1 with the introduction of Kuldeep Yadav, who got purchase from the surface, with his first ball beating Lewis’s bat.
Gayle, who is the most capped ODI batsman with 299 matches under his belt, never got going, as the rain intervals may have played with his concentration. His painstaking innings of 4 from 31 balls ended when Yadav castled him.
The elegant Shai Hope entered the crease at number three, and looked at his classy best watching Lewis from the other end smashing sixes.
At 54-1 it was done and dusted, as the heavens opened up once more, and play was officially called off at 15:12 hours.
As soon as that declaration was made, the sun came out in its glory at Providence and the Kiddies cricket program with primary schools got underway.
After the match, West Indies Assistant Coach Roddy Estwick addressed the media to explain that the West Indies would be looking to win the Series despite a poor showing in the T20 Series.
Estwick believes that if West Indies play their best cricket, they can topple the strong India team. On Lewis’ form, he disclosed that it was refreshing to see Lewis getting some runs. Estwick stated that West Indies will be looking to continue improving and developing that consistency.
“It won’t happen overnight, but we have to continue building blocks”, he said.
The West Indies assistant coach made it evident that he won’t disclose any information on Keemo Paul selection, but he made it evident that Paul is fit.
Paul, who is constantly monitored by Cricket West Indies, has been one of those players to feature in all three formats; and Estwick said that this is not an easy task.
Rotating the strike has been an issue in the Caribbean. Estwick touched on that issue and disclosed that it is an issue must be corrected at the Regional level. “It has to start at the Regional level, not the Test. We must get the support from the Territorial boards”, Estwick echoed.
The positive coach added that some positives must be taken away from the series. Kieron Pollard’s innings, and Lewis’s innings are the few positives for the team; and the team’s fielding has also been improving.