So, it is 1-1 then! After the shellacking that the Men in Blue received at the hands of Shimron Hetmyer in the first ODI, Team India flexed their batting muscles in Vizag to the tune of 387, batting the visitors out of the game to enforce a decider at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.
One of the most heartening things for Team India to have come out of this series is how their young guns in the middle-order have come to the party. Whether it was the first game, when the chips were down and the side needed Pant and Iyer to grit it out in the middle or in the previous match where India needed quick runs in the last few overs, the duo played their role to perfection. Another thing that would have pleased the team-management was Kuldeep Yadav’s hat-trick. The leg-spinner has been going through a rough patch in the past 8-10 months and the hat-trick in the second game would have given him a lot of confidence.
The last time an ODI [India vs England, 2017] was played at the Barabati Stadium, more than 700 runs were scored as Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed their respective hundreds after the Men in Blue were reduced to 25/3. Two years later, if the top-order falls cheaply again, can Pant and Iyer do an encore of what Yuvraj and MSD did to England, is something everyone will be looking forward to seeing; for that will be the next step in their evolution as middle-order batsmen.
As for the West Indies, while their batting has been absolutely brilliant thus far, it is their bowling that has led them down. None of the bowlers could make an impact in Vizag, something Kieron Pollard and the team-management will have to address quickly if they are to harbor any hopes of winning their first ODI series against India since 2006.
India has one forced change to their line-up with Navdeep Saini coming in for the injured Deepak Chahar. Apart from that, unless India looks to reunite Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, no further changes are expected in the side that beat West Indies by 107 runs in Vizag.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini
West Indies dropped Hayden Walsh Junior in the second ODI, and considering how Khary Pierre [0/62 in nine overs] fared in the last game, the leggie could get a look-in in the series decider.
Probable XI: Shai Hope (WK), Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Nicolas Pooran (WK), Kieron Pollard (C), Jason Holder, Khary Pierre/Hayden Walsh, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph
Focus will be on
Virat Kohli (India)
It is rare to see Virat Kohli failing in two consecutive innings in One-Day cricket. That too, including a golden duck. But, as we all know, adversity or a string of underwhelming performances bring out a beast in the champion batsman. What will motivate Kohli, even more, is his dismal numbers in Cuttack. In the three ODIs played at the Barabati Stadium, Kohli has managed just 33 runs at an average of 11; something he’ll look to change when he takes guard in the series decider on Sunday
Nicolas Pooran [West Indies]
Shimron Hetmyer’s run-out in the last game, courtesy a brilliant fielding effort by Shreyas Iyer, was one of the turning points of the game. The Indians were chuffed to bits to see the back of the swashbuckling southpaw. But, then arrived another tearaway middle-order batsman in the form of Nicolas Pooran.
In an innings that saw him accumulate 75 off just 47 balls, Pooran proceeded to annihilate the Indian bowling attack with disdain. And, it was only the brute power with which he stroked those sixes, there was also a lot of wrist work involved. In a game where more than 550 runs were scored, Pooran played the shot of the day when he nonchalantly hit Shami over the deep square leg boundary with just a flick-of-his-wrist.
12-4: India’s W/L record in 16 ODIs played at the Barabati Stadium.
3- ODIs India have won in Cuttack out of the four games since 2010. One game against Australia in 2013 was abandoned due to rain.
11- That’s Virat Kohli’s average in three ODIs that he has played at the venue. Kohli has managed just 33 runs across the three matches with his highest score being 22 vs Sri Lanka in 2014-15.
0- ODIs West Indies have won at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. The Men in Maroon have played three games at the venue and have lost all three of them, the last of which came in 2011.
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Match Timings – 13:30 local time, 08:00 AM GMT
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