West Indies vs India: Virat Kohli Calls Navdeep Saini "A Rarity" After Impressive T20I Debut
Navdeep Saini made an immediate impact on his senior international debut, claiming three for 17 off his four overs against the West Indies in the first T20I.
Virat Kohli hails India debutant Navdeep Saini
Navdeep Saini starred with the ball in hand on his international debut
India beat the West Indies in the first T20I by four wickets
Navdeep Saini made an instant impact on his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut, returning with figures of three for 17 as India beat the West Indies by four wickets in the opening T20I of the three-match series in Lauderhill, Florida on Saturday. A fine bowling performance, led by Navdeep Saini helped India restrict the West Indies to 95 for nine in 20 overs. India didn't have it all their way in the chase, huffing and puffing their way to the 96-run target with 16 balls to spare. However, despite the underwhelming performance with the bat, captain Virat Kohli was a content man, hailing Navdeep Saini as "a rarity with his raw pace".
Having already enjoyed success with the India 'A' team currently on tour of the Caribbean, Navdeep Saini achieved the rarity of a maiden in that final over but it was his earlier double-strike which gave the 26-year-old fast bowler the sort of dream start he would have wished for after skipper Virat Kohli chose to bowl first on winning the toss.
Opening bowlers Washington Sundar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had already set the West Indies on the back foot by removing openers John Campbell and Evin Lewis, and Saini added to the Caribbean side's woes by dismissing attacking left-handers Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer off successive deliveries.
"Navdeep is a rarity with his raw pace," said Kohli in appreciation of his debutant's impressive effort.
"We can only hope he kicks on from there. It wasn't the best pitch because of all the weather around. Everyone did a great job to get the match underway on time."
On a pitch where all batsmen struggled to play their shots, the West Indies were restricted to 95 for nine batting first.
India's line-up found the conditions equally challenging but the depth of their batting saw them through to 98 for six with 16 deliveries to spare.
India will be seeking to clinch the series with victory in the second match at the same venue on Sunday before the teams head to Guyana for the final match on Tuesday.
They will then shift formats to three One-Day Internationals (one in Guyana and two in Trinidad) and round out the tour with Test matches in Antigua and Jamaica.
(With AFP inputs)