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Kohli: Navdeep is a rarity with his raw pace
India News

Kohli: Navdeep is a rarity with his raw pace

Navdeep Saini has been hailed as "a rarity" after he starred on debut to help India edge past the West Indies by four wickets in a low-scoring clash at the Central Broward Stadium in Florida on Saturday.

The West Indies batsmen failed to cope with Saini's skillful bowling on a difficult pitch and could manage to register just 95 runs for the loss of 9 wickets by the end of their innings.

India's batting was equally perturbed by the daunting conditions on offer as they failed to free their arms and play through the line, finally reaching the target with six wickets down and 16 balls to spare.

Saini was already part of the India 'A' squad currently touring the Caribbean islands and he was thus rewarded with a chance to don his country's colours following a string of productive performances.

His splendid spell of three for 17 in four overs included the rare feat of bowling a maiden in the final over of a T20 innings that comprised the prized scalp of top-scorer Kieron Pollard.

"Navdeep is a rarity with his raw pace," said Virat Kohli in the aftermath of his side's victory.

He predicted a bright future ahead for the 26-year-old paceman.

"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."

Saini's superb efforts were well complemented by Bhuvneshwar Kumar's tight lines and lengths as he continued to dry up the runs for the West Indies.

India will be wary of the fact their batting failed to exhibit better application on a wearing pitch.

The returning Shikhar Dhawan was removed cheaply early in the innings while Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant were dismissed on consecutive deliveries to leave India reeling at 32-3 at one stage.

Patient knocks from captain Kohli and Manish Pandey restored stability to India's chase and they surmounted the target in the 18th over courtesy a six from Washington Sundar to Keemo Paul.

'Hope to keep the series alive' - Brathwaite

West Indies skipper Carlos Brathwaite conceded his batsmen failed to read the conditions properly and thus paid the price for their ill-timed strokes.

"Once again I don't think we assessed the conditions properly," he said.

"We just have to keep on playing positively though and come at them hard for the second match to keep the series alive."

The second match of the series will take place on the same venue before the action shifts to Guyana for the last T20I.