Momentum & form with India

Plot:

On a rather slow pitch, the Indian batsmen manufactured their own pace to lift the team’s total to beyond 300 in 43 overs, in the second ODI. The West Indies bowlers were put to the sword by Dhawan, Rahane and Kohli and India’s bowlers followed it up with a neat job, restricting the Windies to just 205. The teams have enjoyed a 4-day break between the second ODI and the third, which is all set to be played in Antigua.

Apart from the early worrying factors of Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s swing and Umesh Yadav’s pace, the Windies batsmen will have to contend with the exciting, young talent that Kuldeep Yadav possesses. They found it hard to pick him and lost three wickets to the Chinaman in his first outing with the ball in ODI cricket; this after Bhuvneshwar Kumar set the cat among the pigeons early on, breaking through twice in his first spell.

Shai Hope was a standout among the West Indian batsmen, who faced the conundrum of playing from the crease or forward, choosing the former more often than not and getting into wrong positions as they played at the ball. On the other hand, most of the Indian batsmen preferred coming forward and taking on the ball, rather than hanging back and waiting for it.

The only possible chink in India’s armour could be their middle order. Firstly, they haven’t got ample opportunities to bat in the recent past, and when they have, they have struggled to keep up with the way the top order has played, barring a game or two. Yuvraj and Dhoni are veterans of the game today, and face competition from the younger boys in the side. This brings the case of Rishabh Pant’s inclusion in the playing XI. The young keeper-batsman hasn’t made his ODI debut yet, but Kohli will ponder over dropping one of Yuvraj or Kedar Jadhav to give Pant a look-in. Or perhaps, he could be given his opportunity in the fourth ODI, if India take an unassailable lead by winning the third ODI.

Stage:

Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua

Most of the cricket on this island has been played at the older venue, in St. John’s. However, the new stadium in North Sound, named after West Indian legend, Sir Vivian Richards, has just a decade-long ODI history. The average score batting first at this venue is under 250 which indicates that batsmen may not be able to go after the bowling right from the outset.

Acts:

Shikhar Dhawan vs Ashley Nurse

Shikhar Dhawan’s form is at its peak, but Ashley Nurse tested him in the second ODI and even got him stumped with some smart piece of bowling. If Dhawan settles in, during the Powerplay, there’s a chance that Holder could hand the ball over to Nurse. This time around, Dhawan will look to unsettle Nurse early on.

Kuldeep Yadav vs Shai Hope

Kuldeep Yadav was bowling for the first time in ODIs and Shai Hope took him on with a couple of sixes early in the chinaman’s spell. However, the left-arm spinner had the final laugh when he trapped Hope in front. The West Indian will look to take him on again, but Kuldeep’s confidence will be sky high after his 3-fer in the previous ODI.

Umesh Yadav vs Evin Lewis

Umesh Yadav couldn’t get his name among the wickets in the second ODI, but he bowled a spiteful spell early on in the innings. He troubled Evin Lewis to no end and the batsman couldn’t score a single run off Umesh. The two could face off once again if the Windies lose early wickets in the third ODI.

West Indies have a point to prove and will look to shine throughout the game, than in glimpses with both bat and ball. There isn’t any shortage of talent in the West Indies camp, but they will look for a big performance to boost their chances and draw level after the third ODI.

 

 


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