There’s actually a lot to look forward to in India vs West Indies 2019 ODI series.
The West Indies will shortly enter their final limited over-series of the year. But they may not be in the best mental mix of things.
This is not merely due to the fact that they are competing India, a team that just hammered them a few hours back at the Wankhede, in a manner that was a brutal assault, but West Indies’ own ODI record against Kohli’s team this year has been dismal, for the lack of a better word.
Earlier in 2019, following on the heels of the World Cup, the West Indies put their best batting bet against India but only to lose the series 2-0, with a game lost out to rain.
Even as big hits and familiar Caribbean power was on display at the third ODI contested at the Queen’s Park Oval, the last time that the two sides locked horns, even a Gayle and Lewis special wasn’t enough to save the day.
But both sides, regardless of India winning the series emphatically, have moved on and would want to target the final ODI series that is up for grabs.
Even though, this from a Virat Kohli point of view would mean exhibiting familiar comfort at beating a visibly weak Windies side in the 50-over format, given the relative ease at which the Indians thumped the Windies when the latter played hosts.
With Rohit and Rahul expected to open, having already given number crunchers some serious work to do, Kohli himself being in dismissive form- it would take something other-worldly from the visitors to upset India.
Though, make no mistake. Newly elected limited-overs captain Pollard – would want to capitalize on the Windies strengths; the return of Pooran, adding more strength to the batting line up.
In addition, the team, that doesn’t always score big headlines on the might of its bowling will benefit from the services of an in-form Shai Hope and Hetmyer, who, finally at the back of his maiden T20 fifty (scored a few days back,), following it up with a flashy 40-odd knock finally seems to be getting back in rhythm.
But there’s a lot at stake in what lies ahead in the 3 ODIs. What are the 5 things to look forward to in India vs West Indies 2019 ODI series?
Virat Kohli standing on the cusp of a special hat-trick
Perhaps what many don’t realize in front of Virat Kohli’s relentless consistency, a phenomenon that beckons greater reading is that of his 11,500 plus ODI runs, 2146 have come against the West Indies.
He has not only scored the most runs (ODIs) against the currently Pollard-led side, but has also fired 9 of his 43 ODI hundreds against a team that has frequently come under his batting spell.
The last that Virat played the Windies, he plundered 2 back-to-back hundreds, in the form of the 114 and 120 scored in the Caribbean. So another hundred in the maiden game of the ODI series would produce a fantastic hattrick.
Surely this would be one of the things to look forward to in India vs West Indies 2019 ODI series.
What can the Windies bowling bring to the table?
Entangled in a curious and seemingly clueless web to decode and stop the Indian batsmen, the West Indies bowling, has, at best, looked average, of late.
One of the interesting things to look forward to in India vs West Indies 2019 ODI series would be whether the Windies bowling line-up can challenge the Indians, in their home turf. The T20 series unfurled major problems on the part of the pace-attack, featuring predominantly Holder and Cottrell, who proved far too expensive for Pollard’s liking.
The only respite, if ever, was courtesy Hayden Walsh Jr. and Kharry Pierre, who provided some substance, albeit at high economies, with spin.
28-year-old Jason Holder, by far the most experienced campaigner with the white ball- 132 wickets from 109 games- has lately looked insipid.
But what Pollard’ expectation from his former captain -cum- good friend would be to claim wickets, strike early, inspire the others whilst doing all of this at lower economy rates. Moreover, with Cottrell, who didn’t really have that great a T20 series with the ball himself, being picked for plenty, Holder’s responsibility to contribute would increase greatly.
Furthermore, what won’t help his confidence would be that previously, when he played India in the Caribbean, he did, as a matter of fact, prove too expensive for his own good, going for over 6 and then, 10 an over in the limited-overs series.
A potent bowling attack to challenge West Indies batsmen
Of the 131 career wickets Mohammad Shami has taken in the ODIs, 37 have come this year alone. Where batsmen experience purple patches, it suffices to say that with his tight line and the ability to hit the deck hard, Mohammad Shami has been in an amazing white-patch; although one that’s colored the batsmen’s scorecards with abysmal struggles.
In the absence of Bhuvi, along with supporting features like Dube, and the returning Shardul Thakur, who returns well over a year since last playing an ODI, India’s bowling attack will look to dent a hole in the Caribbean line-up.
Moreover, should Chahal and Kuldeep, two able spinners and turners of the ball attack in tandem, the West Indian attack, that doesn’t always perform exemplarily against spin would find itself challenged. In order to safeguard themselves against the pressure, Windies will have to build partnerships.
Can a Windies batsman score a hundred against India this year?
So far, no West Indian batsman playing against India has gone on to score a hundred in the 50-over game this year. Although, the way in which Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle went about nearly destructing India in the Caribbean, a few months ago during the 3rd ODI at Trinidad, wherein the team raised a hundred in just 10 overs did offer some hope, it wasn’t to be.
Gayle, who isn’t around this time, scored 72 off 41, while Lewis, who’s participation in this series is still doubtful went on to compile 43off 29.
Although the visitors would be pumped by Shai Hope’s return, the fluent and classy top-order bat having gone past 1000 ODI runs for the first time in the career in 2019, the team would hope for others to bring a lot of fire to the batting exploits, such as Hetmyer, who recently rediscovered his lost touch via the T20 fifty and Nicholas Pooran, who will be expected to capitalize on his return.
But the key for Windies, one thinks, would be Hope, who would be keen to better his last outing against India where he scored only 29 runs. At the same time, should Evin Lewis play, he would be pumped by his impressive recent outings against India, having scored 65 and 43 back in the Caribbean!
Of the things to look forward to in India vs West Indies 2019 ODI series would be whether the Windies batting can produce a strong resistance or counterattack to challenge India in this series.
Chance for KL Rahul To Carry T2o form and capitalize
One of the best things to look forward to in the India vs Windies 2019 ODI series would be KL Rahul. Undoubtedly, a batsman that possesses both the gift of timing and the ability to change gears, there’s this quiet and honest artistry about the Bangalore batsman that makes him worth watching, perhaps in several hits of repeat-mode.
His brazen attack although against a visibly vapid West Indian attack was in full flow at the recently-contested Wankhede T20, where Rahul’s bat oozed runs, plundering both spinners and medium-pacers in equal measure.
The 91 off 56, including 4 sixes put the Windies to the sword, the second of his 8 T20 fifties, a knock that came not long after his 62 at Hyderabad.
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