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After three matches in which the West Indies managed to push India to the very brink, the fourth match turned out to be a completely one-sided affair. India struck back hard after their loss in the third game and registered one of its largest ODI victories in history. Everything seemed to go India’s way in the match as it won the toss, scored a massive score, and then put in a very adept bowling performance.
The home side was also helped by having its first choice eleven available. The West Indies must not lose heart, though. They cannot win the series but they can win the last match and equalize it. That should be a huge motivating factor for a side that has done much better than people expect it to and has started the build-up to the ICC World Cup 2019 very nicely.
It seems like India had finally decided to lay down the hammer after a series in which they experimented with a few of their players. The entire first-choice squad, except Hardik Pandya, was available and there were some interesting choices made.
Ravindra Jadeja found a place in the playing eleven ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal although we suspect that could change whenever Hardik become available. Khaleel Ahmed continued to be preferred to Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav in the ODI setup, which was also a bit of a surprise to us.
Kedar Jadhav made an expected comeback into the side in place of Rishab Pant.
These selections convey the fact that Kohli is worried about the batting depth of his side and wants an all-rounder at number 7. He also wants variation in his bowling attack which gives an advantage to Khaleel Ahmed over the other right-arm fast bowlers.
As it turned out, India could have played any combination and come out the winner's thanks to a brilliant batting performance from Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayadu.
Rohit Sharma is the world’s second best ODI batsman, next only to Virat Kohli, and that is something that makes this Indian side so dangerous. Having not one but two players of this caliber, both of whom are playing ODI cricket with an unheard of consistency, means that India can decimate any side with its batting on a given day.
On the rare day that Virat Kohli got out cheaply, Rohit Sharma played a brilliant inning of 162 and led India to a total of 377. Ambati Rayadu scored a century too, the first by an Indian middle-order batsman since January 2017, and has settled the debate over the number four slot once and for all.
Rayadu’s consistency makes the Indian batting side even more dangerous and should hopefully be able to reduce the chances of a collapse. What about MS Dhoni though? He came in with just a few overs and looked in scratchy form before hitting an innocuous delivery down the throat of short fine leg.
Dhoni is the only question that needs answering because Kedar Jadhav came in and smashed three boundaries off the seven he faced. He is a reliable finisher that India will have in its first choice playing eleven for sure.
India’s bowling did not have too much of a workout but Khaleel Ahmed was very good in the overs he bowled. He got the ball to swing in both directions and was menacing to the batsmen. We still don’t think he is better than Umesh Yadav or Mohammad Shami but his left-arm angle provides him an advantage.
We could see some changes to the bowling set up for the last match as Virat Kohli tries to find his best four bowlers out of a pretty talented bunch of players.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, V Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, JJ Bumrah.
The West Indies must forget this last match every happened and regroup for their last ODI of the tour. They have a chance of equaling the series and they must believe that they can achieve that. The best chance for the West Indies to put up a fight seems to be through batting first and putting up a big total.
Batting first allows the West Indies to bat with freedom and not worry about the scoreboard pressure.
For the West Indies to get a good total in its next match, though, some changes need to be made. Hemraj Chanderpaul has now had four outing to try and contribute and he has looked extremely unlikely to do so on all four occasions.
The West Indies must move Hope up to the opening position and find another middle order player to fill up the gap. The best West Indian batsmen this series have been Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer. Both of these two players must play for the longest possible time in the middle.
We have even been impressed with Kieron Powell during the time he stays in the middle. He looks very comfortable and adept before he gets out against the run of play. The West Indies needs to hope that these three players are able to find a way to score runs and put India on the backfoot.
There are some serious problems in the West Indian middle order, though. Rovman Powell and Marlon Samuels have been mere passengers this entire series. Jason Holder has actually been much more consistent than both of them and could move up the order.
Fabien Allen has found his introduction to International cricket a little tough as well. His technique against quality spin looks dodgy but there is enough talent in the man to be persevered with for some time.
We would also recommend bringing back Oshane Thomas for the last match and giving him another go.
Thomas bowled with pace and took the early wicket of Dhawan in the only match he played. Surely the West Indies want a wicket-taker in their ranks even if he can be a little expensive. Ashley Nurse seems to be carrying a shoulder injury that prevented him from being effective in the last match. It looks likely that he will miss out and be replaced by Devendra Bishoo.
Jason Holder has been pretty poor in the series so far and that had added to the pressure on the West Indian bowling lineup. If the West Indies cannot find some way of stopping the Indian batsmen from running amok then any total they get may not be enough to win the last match of the series.
Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, MN Samuels, Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, F Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas.
The team winning the toss could opt to field first considering the threat of rain
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The pitch for the last ODI is a bit of a mystery. There has only been one T20 played at the ground before this and the upcoming match will be the first ODI to be held here. The expectation seems to be for a pitch that will take some turn from the first inning and could make run-scoring difficult.
Rain has been forecast for match day and we think we could be in for a stop-start affair and a lot of DLS calculations.
The threat of rain makes the match more unpredictable because a shortened game could go in anyone’s favor. Al things considered, India is by far the better side and is playing in home conditions. The strength of the Indian batting is truly remarkable and the return of its first-choice bowlers has made the bowling department formidable as well.
Back India to win.
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