About the Match
The cricket season does not stop for India as they prepare to take on the West Indies at home in an ODI series barely a few days after their defeat in the Champions Trophy final. A lot has happened in those few days, off the field, and will surely affect the Indian team as they make their preparations while the West Indies will also be desperate to do well and move up in the rankings.
This is a big ODI series for the West Indies, not just because it is India and they stand to make the most amount of money from it, but also because they are in immediate need of ranking points or they risk having to play a qualification tournament for the 2019 World Cup.
One the face of it, the West Indies seem outgunned here.
They are going up against the 2nd
ranked ODI team in the world that made the final of an event that they themselves failed to qualify for. Their ODI record also stands at 2 wins from 9 matches this year and they just about managed to draw a home series against Afghanistan 1-1.
However, the West Indies hold a 3-1 advantage over India in the last 4 matches played in the Caribbean and tend to lift their game against the subcontinent giant.
There are a couple of players that will also be doubly motivated to make a mark against India since that can also translate to a lucrative IPL contract. Roston Chase, Evin Lewis, and Rovman Powell are some of the players that will definitely want to leave an impression.
We think that the lack of experience in this West Indies is bound to show up over the course of a 5 match series against opponents that would consider ODI’s as their strongest suit, however, they have the necessary experience to win matches on the dead and unresponsive surfaces that will likely be on offer.
One bad match, albeit a final against their arch rivals, has turned the heat on India. A fallout between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble has led to the later’s resignation as head coach just a couple of days before the series begins.
The batting seems overly dependent on the top-3 of which Rohit Sharma has been rested, Virat Kohli will be put under the microscope and Shikhar Dhawan tends to struggle on surfaces that are low and slow.
Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni are on the wane and questions about their place in the scheme of things for the 2019 World Cup are going to dog them constantly. Yes, India has won 20 out of their last 27 matches and is a far more talented team than the West Indies on paper but they are at their most vulnerable right now.
Ashwin and Jadeja have struggled to make any impact on flat pitches and could respond to the West Indian pitches in two manners. The first is that they use the extra purchase to run through the West Indian sides like other spinners did before them or the other is that they crumble under the extra pressure these surfaces bring on them.
Kuldeep Yadav was very impressive in the IPL and is waiting in the wings for a chance. He is a bowler that we think could soon cement his place in the Indian team.
Young Rishabh Pant may also have to wait his turn in the Indian team as Ajinkya Rahane seems to be the likely replacement for Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. Rahane himself has been struggling in the ODI format and has tended to give his wicket away on the slow surfaces.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch at Port of Spain is going to be low, slow and extremely difficult for strokeplay. The Indian may have gotten used to setting scores of 300 plus with ease but will have to change their strategy quickly over here or they risk getting out for a below par total.
No rain has been forecast for this game.
India is the favorites and we back them to win but we would possibly look to hedge our bets through in-play bets