MS Dhoni, the India captain, has called for improvement while bowling in the first six overs and has asked his bowlers to assess conditions quickly, to determine what a competitive spell is ahead of the second T20 international against West Indies in Florida on Sunday.
India had conceded the third highest T20I total - 245 - in the first game on Saturday morning but then chased superbly, only to fall short by one run. West Indies had built their score on a rollicking opening stand between Johnson Charles and Evin Lewis - 126 in 9.3 overs.
"I felt the way the boys performed overall was very good," Dhoni said after the game. "If we can improve how we bowl in the first six overs - in fact it was the first 12 overs where we gave away too many runs."
Dhoni said there needed to be quicker recognition from the bowlers to adjust their game plans when it became clear that the pristine batting pitch was suiting the West Indies' hyper-aggressive approach spearheaded by Charles, who struck 79 off 33 balls.
"Immediately, as a bowler, what you have to do is you have to assess the conditions and change your game plan to some extent," Dhoni said. "Normally you think on a good wicket if I'm bowling four overs, if I even get hit for 40 runs and get one or two wickets, it's good enough. So you have to quickly assess what is a good bowling analysis on this wicket. Maybe the way everybody got hit, it seemed like a four-over 50 [runs], and if you get a couple of wickets or more you are in the plus."
The bulk of India's chasing was done by KL Rahul, who scored 110 off 51 balls, his maiden T20I hundred in only his fourth game. He said he hoped to "go from strength to strength".
"It is very disappointing to be on the losing side but what's good to see is that we did not give up half way through," Rahul told the BCCI website. "The West Indies had put up a big total for us to chase and what we spoke in the dressing room was to try to take the game as long as we could and the way everyone came and approached this innings was very good to see … Happy with the approach, but disappointed with the result."
Rahul and Dhoni put on 107 in 8.1 overs for the fourth wicket, the partnership ending off the final ball of the game, which Dhoni edged to short third man when India needed two to win. Rahul said the game could have "gone anywhere".
"As soon as he [Dhoni] came in, I knew that he would make me run a lot," Rahul said. "I was already tired by the time he came, but he kept on pushing me and like I said we just kept things simple out there in the middle. We required 13 runs an over. He said that even if we get 11-12 runs till the sixteenth over, it was ok and we could go big in the last couple of overs. We were favouring one end and hit sixes on that side and we knew that they did not have overs left from their main bowlers in the death. That was the plan and we just kept hitting well, kept connecting. We got 11-12 runs easily in an over. Just unfortunate it was one of those days when the game could've gone anywhere."
India are currently second on the ICC's T20I rankings, with West Indies third. They will swap positions if West Indies win on Sunday and take the series 2-0. Their new T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite said Saturday's win and the manner in which it was achieved reaffirmed that the reigning World T20 champions were the top T20 side in world cricket.
"We became world champions and now we're here to defend that and show that we are number one in the world and show why we are," Brathwaite said. "The rankings say that we're number three and the plan is for us to go out tomorrow, give another big effort for the last, go 2-0 up, win the series and move to number two in the rankings."