Despite bowling first and having to chase a score, something they haven't been good at traditionally, West Indies were able to record a comprehensive victory over hosts India in the first ODI. This is a great result as it sets the stage for the remaining two games. India, under Virat Kohli, have lost just one home series in ODIs. Will this be their second?
But before the second ODI, it is worthwhile to look at the lessons drawn from this game. Here is a quick run through them.
Windies becoming more mature
For the longest time, West Indian batting line-ups have been known for their brittleness and their tendency for collapsing. There is even a term coined for this – Calypso Collapso. But the current line-up seems to have gained a lot more maturity and possess a clear roadmap for chasing big scores. The way they went about pursuing the target in the first ODI may be an indication that the days of impetuous hitting are over.
Better batsmen against spin
Over the last few years, West Indies teams have shown a great weakness against spin bowling. But the way Shimron Hetmyer dealt with spinners in this game may be a sign that the current crop are more skilled in playing the turning ball. The likes of Hetmyer may also have benefitted from the experience of playing in the IPL. With Roston Chase and Shai Hope also capable of good batting in these conditions, Indian tweakers can't expect to just run through the line-up.
One little weakness
While West Indies romped home to victory in the first ODI, there is one thing that India as well as their opponents need to pay attention to. The way Shai Hope batted in this game was fine because he had the support of Hetmyer. However, West Indies can't afford a batsman to be scoring at a strike-rate of below 60 in ODIs. Hope had played a similar innings against Australia in the World Cup which contributed to his team losing. He needs to be a little more positive.
It's just not the same without Bumrah
While there may be many reasons why India lost this match, the biggest one is the absence of Jasprit Bumrah. One cannot overstate the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah across formats. But in ODIs, he has played the most pivotal role in shaping Indian team's success. Just imagine if India had 10 overs of him, how much difference that would have made. On top of that, his ability to pick wickets in middle overs is worth its weight in gold. His absence can't be compensated for.