India 339-6 (Yuvraj Singh 131, Karthik 67) beat
West Indies 319 (Chanderpaul 63, Nehra 3-49) by 20 runs
First One-Day International, Jamaica
By John Pennington
Yuvraj Singh smacked ten fours and seven sixes as his 131 in 102 deliveries set India on the way to a 20-run win in the opening One Day International against the West Indies at Sabina Park.
Yuvraj's heroics led India to a mammoth 339 for six but the West Indies almost pulled off a remarkable run chase, bowled out for 319 as Ashish Nehra marked his interantional comeback with three wickets, a tally matched by off-spinner Yusuf Pathan.
Yuvraj, who struggled to find any form in the recent ICC World Twenty20 in England, was back to his best in Jamaica, putting on a stand worth 135 with Dinesh Karthik for the third wicket to put India in command after two early wickets had undermined their decision to bat first.
Gautam Gambhir (13) and Rohit Sharma (4) both fell to miscued pulls, Dwayne Bravo the fielder on both occasions as Jerome Taylor and Lionel Baker struck.
Karthik marked his return to the side with a fluent 67 with six fours and a six before he scooped David Bernard in the air for a simple catch to Denesh Ramdin.
Yuvraj and Mahendra Singh Dhoni then took the batting Power Play and carted the West Indians for 62 spectacular runs but the home side hit back when Bravo, playing alongside younger brother Darren who is making his debut, had both Yuvraj and Ravi Jadeja (0) caught by Ramdin in two balls.
Yuvraj flicked the all-rounder down the leg-side while Jadeja feathered an edge through outside off stump as he tried to guide the ball to third man, leaving Bravo the most successful bowler with two for 66.
Dhoni hit one big six off of Taylor before he was run out by an alert Ramdin but a final flourish from Yusuf Pathan (40 not out) and Harbhajan Singh (21 not out), who hit the last ball of the innings for a maximum, enabled India to get well past 300.
The home side got off to a good start, with the top four batsman all making good contributions at good pace before India got themselves back into the game.
Chris Gayle (37) was his usual belligerent self, Runako Morton (42) overcame a slow start while Ramnaresh Sarwan (45) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (63) batted superbly.
Gayle was undone when he miscued a pull, Morton gloved down the leg side, Sarwan was run out attempting a second run to RP Singh while Chanderpaul chipped a catch into the midwicket region during the batting Power Play, during which the West Indies lost two other wickets as they began to lose their way.
There was some controversy over the dismissal of Dwayne Bravo, however, as he lofted a chest-high full ball from Ishant Sharma to namesake Rohit only to see the umpires decide that the delivery was legal. He was left to trudge off having made a stylish eight, and his brother Darren made an equally stylish 19 before be holed out.
Taylor was sent up the order to do some damage, responding with 21 in 15 deliveries and even Bernard chipped in with 19 and despite a couple of timely boundaries from Ramdin, the West Indies had been left with too much to do, the match ending when Ramdin chipped Nehra to Harbhajan at mid off.
Left-arm quick Nehra, back in the side after four years out, also removed Gayle and Bernard while Pathan dismissed Morton, Chanderpaul, and Taylor.
The second match takes place at the same venue on Sunday (26th June).
© Cricket World 2009