Jul 05, 2017
By MI Media
As they say, cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and we witnessed that in the last game. West Indies, who looked under par in the first three encounters of the series, came back hard in the fourth ODI and defended a low total. An inspirational spell by their captain, Jason Holder gave the team the much-needed victory to keep themselves alive in the series. Holder led from the front, registering his best bowling figures with a terrific 5-wicket haul. Team India found themselves in trouble in the last game as their top order failed and the middle order couldn’t come to the rescue either. When you defend 189, the performance talks volumes about the potential in the West Indies team. India, on the other hand got a wake-up call and would look to call the loss an aberration. They will look to come back harder in the final ODI to clinch the series. India still lead the 5-match series 2-1 and will be favourites yet again in this fifth and final ODI.
For India, Kuldeep Yadav has been the pick of the bowlers since his debut in the first ODI. The chinaman has bowled extremely well and showcased his talent with googlies and variations in pace. In their batting department, Ajinkya Rahane has been consistent and has spearheaded the innings in all four ODIs. However, the visitors would want the batting line-up to click as a unit too. Rishabh Pant is waiting in the ranks, but expecting him to get a cap in this final ODI will be a far-fetched proposition at this point with the final ODI being the decider. Ravindra Jadeja, who looked off colour in the last game might make way for Ravichandran Ashwin though, and the team will keep an eye on Yuvraj Singh’s hamstring injury. Captain, Virat Kohli loves to lead from the front and one can expect him to come back stronger in the important clash after a couple of short stays at the crease.
West Indies’ batting remains a concern! They are struggling to click as a unit and they have been guilty of throwing away their wickets at regular intervals, that too after getting starts. If you want to achieve success consistently in ODIs, you need to have all your bases covered. Roston Chase is finding it tough to replicate his Test form and West Indies need someone to show the stability in the batting order. Their bowlers clicked in the last game and they would look to repeat the performance. Having said that, they have been inconsistent with their line and length, at times. The Indian players will back themselves to perform well on the big stage and clinch the series. Expect it to be a cracker of a game if the rain stays away!
Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica
Sabina Park will host the fifth and final ODI of the series. The last ODI played here was in 2014 though, and the surface might be on the slower side again as has been the case in almost all the games so far. The last time India played here, they suffered a 1-wicket defeat and they will not dwell in the past
Ajinkya Rahane vs Jason Holder
The opener replaced Rohit Sharma and has performed extremely well in the series, under difficult conditions. He will be facing Jason Holder, who will be fresh after his best bowling figures in ODIs. It will be an interesting battle between these two, hard-working cricketers.
Hardik Pandya vs the ‘Hopes’
Hardik Pandya once again grabbed the wickets of the Hope brothers in the last ODI. So far, out of the last four attempts against them, he has accounted for their wickets four times. Will the Hope brothers succumbed to Pandya’s canny bowling yet again? It remains to be seen!
Virat Kohli vs Short ball
Virat Kohli is an instinctive puller of the cricket ball, and is usually very good with the shot. In the last two innings though, Kohli has fallen to short balls and the Windies quicks have been clearly targeting him with the line and length. They have perhaps forgotten about the much talked-about line outside the off stump. Kohli will not shy away from playing his strokes and is perhaps a couple of decisive pulls away from a big score.