Dhawan's India cling on to sink West Indies in tense ODI series opener

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Stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan helped India snatch a nervy three-run victory against West Indies in Port of Spain as the hosts suffered another home ODI defeat.

Looking to overhaul India's 308-7 at Queen's Park Oval, West Indies were 133-1 at one stage, ideally placed to bounce back from their recent 3-0 drubbing by Bangladesh.

Yet they could not keep up the strong early running, finishing on 305-6 to lose the opener in the three-match series, a seventh consecutive ODI defeat to India at this ground.

Opener Dhawan, captaining India in the absence of the resting Rohit Sharma and a host of senior stars, was named man of the match. He provided the backbone of the tourists' innings but fell frustratingly short of a century when he was caught by Shamarh Brooks for 97 as he looked to cut away Gudakesh Motie to the ropes.

Shubman Gill had made 64 in a first-wicket stand of 119 before he was run out by a direct hit from home captain Nicholas Pooran, and it was Pooran who took a fine catch at cover off Motie's bowling to send Shreyas Iyer (54) on his way.

In the hosts' reply, Brooks made 46 and Kyle Mayers scored a sharp 75 before falling when he reached outside off stump at a wide-ish ball and got a nick through to wicketkeeper Sanju Samson.

Pooran cracked Prasidh Krishna for two consecutive sixes in the 32nd over to raise a slowing tempo, but he fell for 25 soon after. When Brandon King was caught in the deep for 54 in the 45th over, with 57 still required, that looked to be West Indies' hopes at an end.

There was a flourish though, and they were left needing 15 from the final over, with Akeal Hosein (32 not out) and Romario Shepherd (38no) narrowly failing to delivery the necessary heroics.

IYER LANDMARK

Iyer's 54 took him to 1,001 runs in ODIs, making him the equal-third fastest India batter to reach the 1,000-run milestone, alongside Navjot Singh Sidhu who also got there in 25 innings. Only Virat Kohli and Dhawan (24 innings each) reached four figures in fewer innings.

INDIA EXTEND DOMINANCE

India have now won 11 of their 12 most recent ODIs against West Indies, with the only loss coming in Chennai in December 2019. They have won the last four bilateral ODI series they have contested against West Indies in the Caribbean, and can seal a fifth in a row when game two takes place at the same ground on Sunday.

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