This series is proving to be a lot more interesting than anticipated, the Windies continuing to show they have what it takes to match the might of the Indians. Funnily enough, Virat Kohli has hit another purple patch of form which has definitely been the difference in the series so far, but the visitors haven’t been without their chances either. After that draw in the second ODI at Visakhapatnam, this next match is vital for the Windies who will be looking to level the series 1-1 heading into the remaining two matches further down the track.
India has a fight on their hands in the form of the West Indies who’ve been surprisingly competitive in the first two ODI’s. I say surprisingly due to the fact that they were comprehensively defeated in the test series prior to the limited-overs fixture, not to mention their plummeting downfall in International cricket over the past decade. However, they seem to be more of a white-ball specialist these days which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Knowing how competitive this Indian team is, they’d be thriving off this hard fought contest at the moment. Just take a look at what Virat Kohli’s bringing to the table, back-to-back centuries to the Indian skipper would suggest he’s at his very best when his side is being challenged. The same can be said about a lot of their players, but Kohli is one name that stands out from the rest. The Indian skipper is receiving plenty of support in the form of Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu who both have made solid contributions against the Windies so far, not to mention Shikhar Dhawan whose Asia Cup form at the top of the order was outstanding.
With the top four continuing to perform at such a high standard, KL Rahul may not get a look in until late in the series which probably sums up his ODI career to date. Star-quick Jasprit Bumrah and ODI specialist Bhuvneshwar Kumar have both been named in the squad for the remaining three matches which could potentially throw a spanner in the works for the Windies who’ve dealt with the Indian seamers relatively well so far. After missing the first ODI at Guwahati, Kuldeep Yadav returned for the second match as he spun his way to 3/67 (the only multiple-wicket taker for India in that match) which did enough to halt the opposition just inches from the finish line. They have a couple of great attacking options in their middle order consisting of Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni as well, but given Kohli’s current form they may not be required a hell of a lot in this series. The West Indies have to find a way around India’s top four in the batting line-up, easier said than done I suppose…
Although they find themselves 1-0 down in the series, this West Indian outfit deserves a huge pat on the back. After an embarrassing test series defeat, the Windies have come out all guns blazing in the ODI’s and have somewhat pushed this Indian side to a certain extent. Like most young players, Shimron Hetmyer’s lack of discipline with the bat in the test series was questioned after throwing his wicket away with a wild slog or sloppy running between the wickets. It’s fair to say that the 21-year-old is paying the WICB back in a big way in this ODI series with scores of 106 & 94 against the Indians. Hetmyer looks to be a one-day batting phenomenon in International cricket, he’s averaging 48.50 from 14 matches and already has three centuries to his name. A match-saving knock that could have potentially been a match-winning one didn’t eventuate for Shai Hope at Visakhapatnam, but his unbeaten 123 was another step in the right direction for the Windies. Both Hope and Hetmyer were the batsmen who were expected to stand up in this series, and they’ve done exactly that so far.
Even Chandrapaul Hemraj looked in ominous form at the crease early, now they just need Marlon Samuels and Rovman Powell to break the shackles and they’ll be a red-hot chance to knock off India on their home soil, a huge accomplishment for any International side. After a nightmare-performance in the first ODI, the Windies put their faith in spinner Ashley Nurse who did his job in the second ODI where he picked up the wickets of Dhawan and Rayudu. Skipper Jason Holder hasn’t been able to translate his scintillating test form with the ball into the ODI arena, he’s been held wicketless in the first two matches and desperately needs to get amongst the wickets pronto. One thing the Windies are lacking is a genuine wicket-taker (or more commonly known as a strike bowler), Kemar Roach is probably the closest thing they have to that type of bowler. It might be time to throw young-speedster Alzarri Joseph the opportunity to take on India’s dynamic top order, Obed McCoy picked up two wickets on debut but was smashed for 71 runs after replacing Oshane Thomas in the XI.
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 3rd ODI | Pune
- Virat Kohli
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Rohit Sharma
- Jasprit Bumrah
Wildcard pick – MS Dhoni
Top 5 fantasy picks | West Indies | 3rd ODI | Pune
- Shimron Hetmyer
- Kieran Powell
- Shai Hope
- Ashley Nurse
- Jason Holder
Wildcard pick – Rovman Powell
India (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Virat Kohli © 4. Ambati Rayudu 5. MS Dhoni (wk) 6. Rishabh Pant 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Mohammed Shami/Bhuvneshwar Kumar 9. Yuzvendra Chahal 10. Jasprit Bumrah 11. Kuldeep Yadav.
West Indies (possible) – 1. Kieran Powell 2. Chandrapaul Hemraj 3. Shai Hope (wk) 4. Marlon Samuels 5. Shimron Hetmyer 6. Rovman Powell 7. Jason Holder © 8. Ashley Nurse 9. Devendra Bishoo 10. Kemar Roach/Alzarri Joseph 11. Obed McCoy.