India withstood a late charge from rookie Christopher Barnwell to collect their maiden Twenty20 International victory over West Indies by 16 runs.
The Indians successfully defended a target of 160, but Barnwell gave them some late jitters with two fours and three sixes in 34 not out from 16 balls in a last-ditch bid for a West Indies victory.
The visitors’ spinners squeezed the West Indies top-order batting, despite an attractive, run-a-ball 41 from Darren Bravo.
Harbhajan Singh was the most successful Indian bowler with two for 25, conceding just 77 along with fellow off-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Yusuf Pathan.
As a result of India’s stingy bowling, the home team could not overcome the rising run-rate before a near capacity crowd that included embattled West Indies opener Chris Gayle.
“We played really well, especially our bowlers, they executed well,” said India captain Suresh Raina.
“We have a lot of young players, who have done well in domestic cricket, and we have a new coach, who has been speaking positive things, so we are looking forward to doing well.”
Subramaniam Badrinath stroked 43 to revive the visitors, and lead them to 159 for six, after Darren Sammy undermined their top-order.
Badrinath struck five fours from 37 balls to breathe life into the Indians’ innings, after they stumbled to 63 for four at the halfway stage.
The visitors’ top order was reduced to rubble, after they were sent in to bat, when Sammy snagged four for 16 from his allotted four overs.
But Badrinath turned things around for India, with a stand of 61 for the fifth wicket with Rohit Sharma, and inspired controlled late-order hitting to beef-up the visitors’ total, as they added 72 from the final five overs.
Praveen Kumar started with a maiden before Ashwin made the breakthrough in the fourth over, having Lendl Simmons dubiously caught at slip off Ashwin for nine – TV replays suggesting he never touched the ball.
Munaf Patel then bowled Andre Fletcher, leaving West Indies 22 for two.
The Indians met a roadblock, when Marlon Samuels joined Bravo and made 27, putting on 66 for the third wicket before Harbhajan removed both of them in the space of three balls in the 16th over.
Harbhajan had Samuels caught behind, and bowled Bravo before Kumar had Sammy caught at long-on for a duck.
In the closing overs, the visitors kept their cool, as Barnwell brought the crowd to their feet with some lusty blows, but it was all too little, too late.