A series that looked like going right down to the wire has been quickly defused by India who now leads the series 2-1 heading into this all-important fifth & final match at Thiruvananthapuram. That 224-run defeat wouldn’t sit well with the Windies who’ve been highly competitive in the first three matches, now their focus turns to levelling the series which would be a phenomenal achievement in India against such a quality opposition.
Virat Kohli’s reign of terror with the willow finally drew to a close in Mumbai, unfortunately for the Windies it didn’t make a huge difference in the end as Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu clobbered the visitors in the skipper’s absence. A 211-run partnership between Rohit and Rayudu brought back horrific memories from the first ODI of the series for the Windies who once again failed to break a crucial partnership between two set batsmen. Rohit was on fire, everything he touched in his innings turned to gold as he went on to dispatch 20 boundaries and 4 sixes and even managed to go past Sachin Tendulkar’s six-hitting record in ODI cricket which now sits him second on the list. Opening partner Shikhar Dhawan looked threatening early on as well before he was caught at midwicket for 38, but it was Ambati Rayudu who may have just about cemented his spot at No. 4 in this Indian ODI team with a free flowing century that left little to be desired in Mumbai. Rayudu would know this ground relatively well from the IPL, so it comes as no surprise that he dominated proceedings here.
The 33-year-old is now averaging 51.67 in ODI cricket which should boost his chances of playing in the 2019 ICC World Cup. I can now confidently say that India have the best top four in world cricket today, Their opening batsmen average 46+ while Kohli and Rayudu are sitting in the 50’s. As if that’s not enough already, MS Dhoni is averaging 50.11 coming in at No. 5. Making a successful return in the third ODI where he picked up 4/35 in Pune, Indian quick Jasprit Bumrah is almost as important as Virat Kohli in this side. He just has an uncanny-knack of taking handfuls of wickets, the 24-year-old already has 76 at an average of 21.42 early in his career. Playing as India’s specialist spinner at the moment, Kuldeep Yadav has enjoyed another solid series with figures of 3/67, 2/52 and 3/42 in his three outings against the Windies. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja hasn’t really troubled the opposition, so Kuldeep has played a vital part in this series already. Rajasthan-born seamer Khaleel Ahmed also impressed in Mumbai where he claimed three middle-order wickets in his bowling spell.
The Windies may have gotten a bit too complacent with their own form in the series as they left Mumbai in disappointing circumstances. India handed the West Indies an absolute crushing defeat thanks to a Rohit Sharma-onslaught with the bat accompanied by Ambati Rayudu who inflicted his own pain on the tourists. It’s was an interesting decision to drop 21-year-old seamer Obed McCoy who despite being expensive still managed to pick up some important wickets in his two matches. What I find even more bemusing is the fact that they haven’t played Oshane Thomas since the first ODI and Alzarri Joseph at all! Sure those two are probably destined to go for plenty of runs, but they’ve been picked in this side as genuine wicket takers. All-rounder Keemo Paul got the nod instead which is a tad surprising given that he hasn’t really shown a whole lot in his previous six ODI’s with the ball, and he ended up conceding 88 runs which was a bad judgement call from team selection. The Windies haven’t really had a standout performer with the ball so far which was expected, Marlon Samuels has the best figures for the series as a part-timer with 3/12 in the third ODI.
It’s no secret that their bowling hasn’t been overly impressive, but one thing they have been able to rely on in this series has been their batting. That wasn’t the case in Mumbai though, for the first time in the series the Windies looked uncertain at the crease which is never a good sign. The running between wickets was jittery, but credit has to go to India’s bowling as well, some of those dismissals were almost unplayable. Skipper Jason Holder top scored with an unbeaten-half century, however they’d probably prefer him to be doing most of his damage with the ball instead. Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer have both been exemplary with the bat for the West Indies in this series, while Jason Holder has been relatively consistent batting in the lower order as well. They’ve had too many passengers though, meaning that all the work has been left up to those three in particular. Marlon Samuels is walking on thin ice at the moment, he’s averaging just 10 with the bat in what has been a forgettable series for the 37-year-old Jamaican.
Possible Team Changes
With the series on the line, it’s unlikely that India will rotate their top order with any bench players. That means KL Rahul and Manish Pandey may not feature in a single-game for the series. Kedar Jadhav might just hold his spot in the middle order after Rishabh Pant made way for him, other than that India could potentially go into this final ODI unchanged. India also has the option of bringing back Yuzvendra Chahal for Ravindra Jadeja if they’re looking to rotate players.
It’s hard to see Marlon Samuels holding his spot in this West Indies side averaging just 10 in the middle order, his part time bowling however is an added bonus. All-rounder Keemo Paul might find himself straight back out of the side for one of Oshane Thomas or Alzarri Joseph, while Fabian Allen’s back-to-back wicketless outings could also prompt a change. Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Alzarri Joseph and Oshane Thomas should all be in contention to feature in this fifth match at Thiruvananthapuram.
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 5th ODI | Thiruvananthapuram
- Virat Kohli
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Rohit Sharma
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Shikhar Dhawan
Wildcard pick – Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Top 5 fantasy picks | West Indies | 5th ODI | Thiruvananthapuram
- Shimron Hetmyer
- Jason Holder
- Shai Hope
- Ashley Nurse
- Kieran Powell
Wildcard pick – Kemar Roach
India (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Virat Kohli © 4. Ambati Rayudu 5. MS Dhoni (wk) 6. Kedar Jadhav 7. Ravindra Jadeja/Yuzvendra Chahal 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Khaleel Ahmed 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
West Indies (possible) – 1. Chandrapaul Hemraj 2. Kieran Powell 3. Shai Hope (wk) 4. Marlon Samuels/Sunil Ambris 5. Shimron Hetmyer 6. Rovman Powell 7. Jason Holder © 8. Fabian Allen/Devendra Bishoo 9. Ashley Nurse 10. Keemo Paul/Alzarri Joseph/Oshane Thomas 11. Kemar Roach.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.