And, so finally the law of averages caught with India’s seven-match winning streak against the West Indies as the visitors, courtesy the whirlwind assault on the Indian bowlers, registered an eight-wicket win in Thiruvananthapuram. With the series locked at 1-1, it is now time for the decider at the iconic Wankhede Stadium.
As one reminisces Wankhede Stadium, the memories of that fateful World Cup semi-final clash galore where Lendl Simmons made the Men in Blue pay for the indiscretion on the field as he led the West Indies past the Indian total to knock the hosts out of the competition.
One of the prime reasons why India lost that game- apart from those no-balls, of-course- was the conservative approach of their batsmen. On a placid track and a small ground like Wankhede, India racked up 192 in 20 overs and by the time West Indies chased that target down in a whisker, it was clear to the hilt that the home side was at least 20-30 runs short.
Three years later, nothing much has changed. Indian fielders continued to give chances to Lendl Simmons while their batsmen aren’t sure how to approach their innings while batting first. As a result, India scored 170 in the last game, when at one stage they looked prime for a 190+ score. That said, even that wouldn’t have been enough, considering the way India has fielded in the past few games.
As for the West Indies, they find themselves in a rare position to win a series against India, and Kieron Pollard will hope that they can continue with the good work that they did in Thiruvananthapuram. Toss could once again play a crucial factor considering the dew factor in Mumbai is pretty significant and defending totals is close to a nightmare- five out of six T20Is have been won by the chasing teams at Wankhede.
Once again India’s tactics of going in with bowlers who can bat a bit in place of attacking the wrist-spinning option in Kuldeep Yadav came to haunt them in Thiruvananthapuram. Add the fast bowling woes- Deepak Chahar’s inconsistent returns and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s underwhelming return- to it and the problem accentuates to the hilt.
While the team management is likely to persist with Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, it will be interesting to see whether they will go in with another wrist-spinner in place of a finger-spinner.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar/Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal
As far as the West Indies are concerned, why change something that ain’t broken? The Kieron Pollard-unit should go in with the same side that beat India by eight wickets in Thiruvananthapuram.
Probable XI: Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Brandon King, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicolas Pooran (WK), Kieron Pollard (C), Jason Holder, Khary Pierre, Kesrick Williams, Hayden Walsh, Sheldon Cottrell.
Focus will be on
Rohit Sharma (IND)- One of the reasons why India has struggled with the bat in the past few T20I series is because of the inconsistent form of Rohit Sharma. If you remove the 85 that he scored in the second T20i against Bangladesh, Sharma’s score in the current home season read: 12, 9, 9, 2, 8, 15. With India so much dependent on their top-order, Sharma’s form is crucial to their fortunes and the management will hope that the champion opener can regain his form at the Wankhede.
Lendl Simmons (WI)- Lendl Simmons loves batting against India. If his whirlwind knock in the semi-final of the 2016 T20 World Cup wasn’t enough, he gave further proof of it in the last T20I. With the series decider set to take place at the same venue where he shellacked the home sides’ dream three years ago, the right-hander will hope he can do an encore and lead West Indies to a rare series win against India.
1- Yuzvendra Chahal is one wicket away from becoming the leading wicket-taker for India in T20Is.
20- Rohit Sharma’s batting average in the current home season. In seven games, Sharma has managed just 140 runs; 85 of which came in a single inning.
5- No of games teams have won out of six while chasing at the Wankhede.
8-8- India’s record while defending a target in the recent past.
TV – Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD
Online – Hotstar
Match Timings – 19:00 local time, 13:30 GMT
Watch: Tabraiz Shamsi’s shoe celebration in MSL 2019
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.
- Virat Kohli gives an angry send-off to Kieron Pollard
- India vs West Indies, 2nd ODI: Preview – Kieron Pollard’s men chase a historic series win in Vizag
- India vs West Indies, 2019: 2nd ODI: Match Prediction – Weather Report, Pitch Conditions, Playing XIs and Live Streaming Details
- India vs West Indies: Kieron Pollard reacts to Ravindra Jadeja’s controversial run-out call by the on-field umpire
- ‘How’s it different from Steve Smith’s brainfade moment?’ – Aakash Chopra on Ravindra Jadeja’s run-out controversy