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News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Thurs. Aug. 3, 2023: In a thrilling encounter at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, West Indies and India faced off in their first T20 International. Despite India’s previous Test and One Day International series victories, they suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of West Indies. Debutant Tilak Varma shone with the bat for India, but Romario Shepherd’s composed bowling at the death secured the win for the hosts.

West Indies emerged victorious by a mere four runs, dampening India’s spirits in their 200th T20 International. Having dominated the Test and One Day series, India entered the match with confidence, but West Indies displayed an excellent bowling performance to claim the win.

Obed McCoy (L) and Jason Holder (2L) of West Indies celebrate the dismissal of Axar Patel (R) of India during the first T20I match between West Indies and India at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, on August 3, 2023. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Batting first, West Indies set a target of 149 runs in their 20 overs, led by the contributions of Nicholas Pooran (41 off 34) and captain Rovman Powell (48 off 32). Despite a below-par total, their exceptional fielding and bowling efforts compensated for it.

Shimron Hetmyer (L) and Romario Shepherd (R) of West Indies celebrates the dismissal of Tilak Varma of India during the first T20I match between West Indies and India at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, on August 3, 2023. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

India’s openers, Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan, fell cheaply, but Suryakumar Yadav (21 off 21) and the debutant Tilak Varma (39 off 22) injected pace into the innings. Varma’s debut performance was remarkable, hitting two sixes in his first two scoring shots. However, Romario Shepherd’s exceptional fielding skills resulted in crucial dismissals, including a diving catch to remove Yadav and a spectacular catch to dismiss Axar Patel.

Obed McCoy (L) of West Indies celebrates the dismissal of Axar Patel (R) of India during the first T20I match between West Indies and India at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, on August 3, 2023. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

With Jason Holder’s impressive performance (2 wickets for 19 runs), West Indies tightened their grip on the match. In the final over, Shepherd had nine runs to defend, and he did so with excellence, dismissing Kuldeep Yadav with a brilliant yorker to secure West Indies’ victory.

The five-match T20I series presents an opportunity for West Indies to make a strong comeback, and they have gained the upper hand heading into the second game in Guyana.

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