KL Rahul en route to his swashbuckling century Image: AFP
Promising batsman Lokesh Rahul's 110 not out went in vain as West Indies managed to defeat India by one run in the nail-biting first T20 International at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground on Saturday.
With India needing 2 runs from the final ball, West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo kept his nerves to dismiss Mahendra Singh Dhoni (43) with a slower one to take the Caribbean side home.
Chasing a mammoth 246, Rahul struck the second fastest century in T20 Internationals to guide India to an almost improbable win before the last ball twist changed the fortunes of the men in blue.
With the century, the Karnataka batsman has now become the third Indian to score a century in all three formats of the game.
The 24-year-old Rahul, who was preferred over regular opener Shikhar Dhawan for the match, made the most of the opportunity, bringing up 89 runs for the third wicket with Rohit Sharma (62) before almost guiding the team to victory with a 107-run stand with Dhoni.
Earlier, India were off to a disappointing start losing the key wickets of opener Ajinkya Rahane (7) and Test skipper Virat Kohli (16) cheaply, until Sharma was joined by Rahul and their 89-run stand for the third wicket provided momentum for the chase.
The Mumbai batsman's innings was laced with four boundaries and as many sixes, including the three consecutive maximums off tweaker Sunil Narine, before being caught by Johnson Charles at deep midwicket off Keiron Pollard in the 12th over.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni then joined Rahul, who by now got to his half century off 26 balls and the duo took the attack to the opposition.
KL Rahul now the only batsman to reach 100 with a six in all three formats in international cricket!#IndvsWI— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) August 27, 2016
West Indies also paid the price for giving Rahul another chance on 38 when skipper Carlos Brathwaite dropped him at long off off Andre Russell.
Both the right-handers were at their lethal best with Dhoni bringing the asking rate down with two sixes off Russel in the 17th over while Rahul got one more to take India to 213/3.
MS Dhoni is PV Sindhu of cricket.#IndvsWI— Sorabh Pant (@hankypanty) August 27, 2016
With India needing 33 from the last three, Rahul got to his century with a brilliant six and then struck a four off the very next ball.
But all the drama was stored for the last over, in which India managed to score six out of the required eight runs, before Dhoni, who survived a catch on the first ball, was caught at short third-man on the final ball.