Pooran: “It feels like a win—bittersweet”; WI lose opening ODI to India by three runs after thrilling chase

“It feels like a win—bittersweet,” said West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran.

India, the third best ranked team in One Day International cricket at present, set West Indies a target of 306 runs in the first ODI at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain yesterday. The record run chase at the Oval in that format of the game is 272.

Photo: West Indies allrounder Romario Shepherd keeps out a delivery during the first ODI against India at the Queens Park Oval on 22 July 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

The Maroon Men got to 305. Another three runs and they would have forced a super over. Instead, they succumbed to their seventh straight ODI defeat and their 12th loss of 2022 from 16 outings in the 50 over game.

“We had nerves as we didn’t expect them to come this close,” said India’s stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan.


It was, at best, a back-handed compliment—particularly coming from a team that ‘rested’ close to half its team, including classy batsmen Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Yet it was a fair appraisal of the form of both teams.

West Indies managed to bat for 50 overs in just one of their last five ODIs. And, when captain Nicholas Pooran won the toss, he chose to field.

Photo: West Indies player Rovman Powell (left) has a chat with Shimron Hetmyer during the first ODI against India at the Queens Park Oval on 22 July 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

The Queen’s Park Oval is Pooran’s home venue for club and country. But it was Dhawan and fellow opener Shubman Gill who put their feet up, with an opening partnership of 119 before Gill (64 runs off 53 balls, 6×4, 2×6) was run out by Pooran—presumably while reaching for the remote.

Remarkably, India were just shy of successive century partnerships as Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer added 94 for the second wicket before the captain was caught by Shamarh Brooks off Gudakesh Motie for 97 off 99 balls (10×4, 3×6).

Iyer made himself comfortable too and by the time he departed for 54 off 57 deliveries (5×4, 2×6), India were scoring at about 6.4 an over and presumably set for anything between 320 and 350 runs.

Motie and Hosein helped stem the flow, though, and Alzarri Joseph got two wickets in the penultimate over as India managed just 103 runs from the final 15 overs to close on 308/7.

Photo: West Indies spinner Gudakesh Motie (right) bowls while India batsman Shubman Gill looks on during the first ODI against India at the Queens Park Oval on 22 July 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

In reply, West Indies lost opener Shai Hope in the fifth over, with just 16 runs on the board. But a 117-run partnership by Kyle Mayers (75 from 68, 10×4, 1×6) and Shamarh Brooks (46 from 61, 4×4, 1×6) brought the hosts back in the game.

India were 225/2 after 35 overs. West Indies were 189/3—but at least they had wickets in hand.

Two overs later, the hosts were 197/5 with Pooran (25 off 26, 0x4, 2×6) and Rovman Powell (6 off 7, 1×4) back in the stands. Brandon King, who is enjoying a second lease of life since his move from West Indies opener to middle-order batsman, was still there though.

“We always believe that if we are in the game for the last five overs,” said King, “we have the guys that can chase down any total.”

Photo: West Indies opener Kyle Mayers on the attack against India during the CG Insurance ODI series on 22 July 2022 at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

King steered West Indies into the 45th over, when he edged to Iyer off Yuzvendra Chahal (54 off 66, 2×4, 2×6). The hosts ended the over on 255/6 and required 54 runs from 30 balls to catch India, with Akeal Hosein and Romario Shepherd—who replaced the Covid-19 positive Jason Holder—at the crease.

The pair managed 51 runs: Shepherd (39 off 31, 3×4, 2×6), Hosein (32 off 32, 2×4). It was not quite enough.

“We ticked fielding [and] batting to the end which was great,” said Pooran. “It’s difficult to lose but we will take this one. We need to believe in each other and develop. 

“We’ll have a lot of challenges but are moving in the right direction.”

Having run India close, did West Indies think they could treat cricket fans to a win in the second ODI in Port of Spain on Sunday?

Photo: West Indies batsman Brandon King plays a shot during the first ODI against India at the Queens Park Oval in Port of Spain on 22 July 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

“It’s not so much about beating India,” said King. “[…] Right now we want to play cricket and I think bringing the game to the last ball chasing 300+, it was good for us.”

Having managed ODI wins against only the Netherlands and Ireland in this calendar year—and they lost the series to the Irish 2-1—the Maroon Men are careful about the targets they set themselves at present.

Their failure to meet India’s target yesterday, despite coming within touching distance, would not have helped.

(Match Summary)

Toss: West Indies

India 308/7 (50 overs) (Shikhar Dhawan 97, Shubman Gill 64, Shreyas Iyer 54; Gudakesh Motie 2/54, Alzarri Joseph 2/61)

West Indies 305/6 (50 overs) (Kyle Mayers 75, Brandon King 54, Shamarh Brooks 46; Shardul Thakur 2/54, Mohammed Siraj 2/57, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/58)

Photo: Indian opener and captain Shikhar Dhawan (left) plays a shot during the first ODI against West Indies at the Queens Park Oval in Port of Spain on 22 July 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Result: India won by three runs

Man of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan

India lead three-match ODI series 1-0.

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