It’s been a topsy-turvy series so far. On paper, it might suggest 1-1 but overall, West Indies have looked the better team in all three departments. It was the brilliance of Virat Kohli who with the early help of KL Rahul took India home in a mammoth chase (208). In the second game, it was the turn of the Caribbeans to return the favour. They hunted down 171 with relative ease and squared the series.
Going into the decider, it is India who are crowded with quite a few questions. In fact, their fielding has been way below par too. The bowling hasn’t looked all that threatening either. Hence, India will want to pull up their socks ahead of the series-decider.
2019 hasn’t been the best year for the Indian T20 team. They’ve blown hot and cold quite a bit and have just one T20I series win this year and even that came against the West Indies. Thus, they will be looking to end the year on a high.
Here is the predicted XI for India for the third T20I which will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai:
Openers (Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul)
Rohit Sharma might have had a great 2019 but not so much in the shortest format. The Indian vice-captain has struggled quite a bit in T20Is this year. He has scored 325 runs at an average of just 25.00. His last five T20I scores read – 9, 85, 2, 8 and 15 (latest). Thus, he will be hoping to end the series and T20I year with a good score.
Meanwhile, KL Rahul may not have scored big in the last game. But he has constantly proved that he should be India’s first-choice T20I opener over Shikhar Dhawan. The Karnataka lad has been in fine form in the recent past. It was his 62 that set up the game for India in the first T20I.
Middle-order (Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk))
Virat Kohli has looked in fabulous form but that has always been after his initial few deliveries. In both games, the Indian captain couldn’t time the ball well early on. In the first game, his unbeaten 94 took the team over the line in a record-chase of 208 while he failed to convert a start in the second game.
Shreyas Iyer has been India’s touted No. 4. However, in both games so far, he hasn’t got a chance to bat at that slot. He hasn’t had much to do in the two games either. But he’s been in decent form in the recent past. India will be pleased with the way Rishabh Pant has scored in the last couple of games. The Delhi wicket-keeper batsman has struck the ball well and has scores of 18 and 33 not out.
All-Rounders (Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja)
A promotion to No. 3 worked wonders for Shivam Dube. The Mumbai all-rounder did take his time to get going but once he got the flow, he tore into the West Indian bowlers. He scored three fours and four sixes on his way to a fine 30-ball 54. He hasn’t bowled a lot this series but can be very handy as well.
Ravindra Jadeja hasn’t been able to replicate his form in T20 cricket. He has been in very good form with both bat and ball in the other two formats but hasn’t cracked the T20 code. He’s blown hot and cold but will be eager to make an impact with a few spinners waiting on the fringes.
Bowlers (Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal)
Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will continue to lead India’s pace attack. After the magnificent performance against Bangladesh, Chahar was soaring sky-high but has been brought down to earth by the West Indian batsmen. They’ve gone after him and the pacer has conceded runs at 12.13 runs an over.
On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar has gone wicketless in both games. He has been very good at the start but has looked slightly out of sorts at the death. This game could well see the ‘KulCha’ reunite. Kuldeep Yadav might return to the XI given that the Wankhede is a belter and India might need another wrist-spinner.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been India’s best bowler in this series. He may have gone for runs but he’s constantly looked threatening and will be the key in this game as well.
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